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If you’re an informed, creative 20- or 30-something with your sights set on a fixer-upper that you can put your stamp on, you’re not alone. “Millennials” (aka Generation Y) like to DIY, want to own a home, and in the next 15 years will come to outnumber Baby Boomers by some 20 million. Meaning? The home market is about to reshape itself to suit your needs.
A survey of 3,200 prospective homebuyers, released in February by BHG, says Millennials are least likely to expect that they’ll build a home, and most likely to say that they’ll fix one up. And they want their homes to reflect their individuality. Maybe you knew all that, but contractors, designers, and remodelers are about to figure it out too.
Here comes the “swarm”
“Millennials are swarming into the home marketplace armed with information, ideas, and a passionate desire for personalization,” said Jill Waage, an editorial director for BHG, at the recent International Builders Show in Las Vegas. “Home builders, designers, and remodelers should know that this generation expects you to work with them as collaborators, not just contractors."
What constitutes a swarm? Well, according to a report from the Boston Consulting Group, by 2030 Millennials will outnumber Baby Boomers 78 million to 56 million. And the BHG survey says 79 percent of Millennials believe that owning a home is part of the American Dream, not to mention a good investment (77 percent). If even half of them get into a house . . . Like we said, you’ve got the power.
Individualists with a lot in common
Millennials may be individualists, but the BHG survey revealed a lot of commonalities (besides individualism). Work spaces, multipurpose rooms, casual entertaining in outdoor living areas, curb appeal, and energy efficiency all rate high on Millennial lists. And—this definitely won't surprise you—all this planning is getting done on smart phones and tablets.
Some Millennial numbers:
- 18 percent expect their next home to be newly built
- 23 percent expect it to be a fixer
- 26 percent want a home office, work space, or family computing center
- 41 percent think a combined office-hobby-crafts-art room was ideal
- 35 percent want to work on outdoor living or entertaining areas
- 42 percent want exterior upgrades like a deck, porch, or patio
- 52 percent plant to add or replace plantings, shrubs, and trees
- 40 percent want to make their home more energy efficient
- 67 percent use a smartphone or tablet to “find inspiration and get ideas for decoration,” and 58 percent to “look for info on home repairs and how to do them”
But then there’s that down payment . . .
So what's stopping all these doer-dreamers? The down payment. In the BHG survey, 35 percent of Millennials said it’s their greatest obstacle. If it’s yours too, remember that a homebuyer education course can qualify first-time buyers for special financing programs.