A decade or two ago, Baby Boomers were raising their Millennial children in large homes with closed floor plans and spacious yards. My how times have changed. In fact, those same Baby Boomer dream houses are struggling to attract Millennials as buyers—or even woo other Boomers as homeowners. Why? Millennials want to live closer to urban areas, want open floor plans, prefer access to outdoor activities to having a yard they need to maintain, and they are trying to stretch their dollars for a better location nearer the city center rather than in the suburbs. And it turns out Baby Boomers want the same thing.
Jason Dorsey, a Millennial and Gen Z expert whose TEDx talk on Gen Z has over 200,000 views, describes the situation candidly. He explains, “it’s more important [for Millennials] to have proximity to the lifestyle they want—their living room is actually the park outside the condo,” rather than buying the massive homes Baby Boomers are putting on the market as they downsize.
We’ve identified three features Millennials are looking for—and they are often missing from the “McMansions” Baby Boomers are trying to sell:
- Smaller spaces with open floor plans: Both Boomers and Millennials are looking for condos and other smaller dwellings—but for different reasons. Smaller housing appeals to Baby Boomers because they believe they can age at home with more ease. Millennials, on the other hand, are drawn to smaller homes because they are unwilling to pay for the cost and maintenance of larger homes.
- Locations with an urban flavor: By leaving the traditional houses and big yards behind, Millennials prefer their homes be located in a walkable area with an “urban flavor.” In non-urban areas, Millennials seek out smaller homes with walking access to coffee shops, restaurants, and stores. In addition, they want to be surrounded by the urban amenities to which they have grown accustomed—bike lanes, social events, restaurants, and shops.
- High-end amenities inside the home: Besides a smaller home and instant access to the conveniences of city life, Millennials look for interiors with high-end features. They seek current trends in luxury bathrooms, high-quality finishes, and the latest in home technology and appliances.
So who is going to buy these large Baby Boomer houses? Maybe Gen X will step up and fill in the gap! And if not, this could be a great time for Millennials to buy their parents’ house at a discount and then let their parents pay them rent.
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