For those either anxious to seek out their starter home or anticipate their final move as they embark on their retirement years, the topic of home ownership is imperative for the two largest generations: Millennials and Baby Boomers. Since the two account for the largest population segments in the United States, it comes as no surprise then that the two also have the greatest impact on the housing market.
Generally categorized as individuals born between 1980-1995, Millennials seem to have a unique view of the world and their living situation. “Many reports show that Millennials tend to live with their parents during and after their college years,” said Melissa Hailey, CCAR President-Elect and owner of North Texas Top Team. “This generation is still finding out how expensive it is in the ‘real world.’” Hailey said Millennials oftentimes have to consider which takes precedence: Having their own place or continuing the lifestyle they are accustomed to, which places a value on acquiring the hottest new technology, dining out frequently, and shopping on a regular basis.
“Many times, they find that living with family is a more affordable option–or maybe the only option–to continue that lifestyle,” she said. “However, my children are in this generation, and none of them are living at home with us…yet.”
In decades past, there was a stigma associated with being an adult who still lived with his or her parents. Today, however, this is common for 20- and 30-somethings. In a 2014 Pew Research Center census data report, it stated that “for the first time in more than 130 years, 18- to 34-year-olds in the U.S. were more likely to be living in their parents’ home than with a spouse or partner in their own household.”
Some experts have alluded to debt caused by the cost of rising college tuition as one possible reason behind this growing phenomenon. Others cite the lack of high-paying jobs, the cost of living, and the lack of affordable housing.
Although the percentage of Millennials who opt to stay with their parents has increased significantly, other Millennials have found ways to make home ownership both possible and affordable. “I believe that Millennials are open to other housing options,” Hailey said. “Those could include renting long-term, roommates, tiny houses, condos, and multi-generational housing.”
For Baby Boomers, their concern is not primarily focused on the cost of homes. Rather, they seek homes that adapt to the challenges of aging. Baby Boomers usually elect to transition from larger to smaller homes as they generally look to down-size their living arrangements.
“The catch is that many of them want the upgrades and updates that they are accustomed to in their current homes,” Hailey said. “Our market definitely has room for building upscale, smaller, single-story homes for this generation.”
According to the National Association of Home Builders, Baby Boomers, individuals born between 1946-1964, want a variety of options that suite their more active and sophisticated lifestyles. These include home offices for second careers or part-time work, wider doors and hallways for wheelchair accessibility, bigger windows and better lighting, and low-maintenance exteriors and landscaping.
While some Baby Boomers consider townhomes as an option, others prefer a single-level residence to accommodate their long-term living plan. “They are concerned with aging in place and while stairs may not be an issue today, it could pose problems in their future,” Hailey said.