Millennials, the second largest generation since the Baby Boomers, are now aged between 22 and 40. That puts them firmly in the first home buyer category, with the average age for a first home buyer in 2017 being 32.
Much has been written about this generation’s approach to work, family and lifestyle choices. But what do they want in a house? And how does it differ from the generations that have preceded them? After all, in a few years time they’ll represent 40% of all buyers, so it’s worth taking their purchase power seriously.
An American study asked millennials to assume they owned a three bedroom house built 20 years ago, and then gave them a $300,000 budget for upgrades. That study found that the majority of them would upgrade their appliances as a first priority, followed by a large master bedroom, two-car garage and solar panels or other renewables. Extra bedrooms, swimming pools and outdoor space were less important.
In Australia, the findings are similar.
Unsurprisingly, price is a consideration for this group. They’re therefore happy to compromise on an older house if it fits the budget. However, outdated interiors must allow for upgrade to the high tech environment of today. Sleek interiors, a functional outline and contemporary design will all make a millennial buyer sit up and take notice, whereas a home with an awkward layout or no way to add power points and modern lighting can be a turn off.
Those with a bit more cash to splash will be looking for the following things:
A great kitchen
This is a generation who champion food and home cooking, as the popularity of cooking shows will attest. It’s no surprise, then, that they’re looking for the biggest and best kitchen their money will buy, with an open floor plan top of the list.
Energy saving features
Bathrooms are next on the priority list, with the focus on water-saving fixtures that cut down on the environmental footprint of the house. In fact, energy savers are a huge draw for millennials, with solar panels scoring especially well. Old appliances, poor insulation and high maintenance fixtures are all a turnoff.
Low maintenance living
Likewise, millennials don’t want to spend a lot of time on household upkeep, so they’re looking for finishes that wear well without a lot of maintenance. Hardwood or tiled floors are more enticing than carpet, with uncluttered finishes and sleek built ins a plus. Minimalism has been a strong trend for a while, and millennials are attracted by a simply staged room over one with clutter and ornaments on display.’
Millennials prize being close to work, friends and family over proximity to health services or entertainment. In fact, most of them aim to buy within 20km of where they currently live. For many, a shorter commute trumps all other considerations, and they’ll pay a premium to achieve it.
If you’re selling, the chances are good that you’re selling to millennials, so consider spending your renovation budget on the things that they care about.