Shifts in the family dynamic over the past 40 years mean a change in what families are looking for in their homes. There are many things builders and specifiers should consider when designing homes for today’s buyers.
The percentage of homeowners who are married couples has dropped over 20% since 1970. The percentage of homeowners who are unmarried couples, single purchasers, or unrelated adults have each increased 5 to 10% in the same timeframe.
What do buyers need?
Boomers, ages 46 to 65, make up 25% of the U.S. population. Younger Baby Boomers with a new found “empty nest” are downsizing to smaller, more practical homes, while older Boomers are investing in second homes. Even though this generation is looking for smaller homes, they are still looking for luxury. Quality over quantity. Low maintenance and upkeep are of great value to them.
Xers, ages 30 to 45, are growing their families and therefore looking to grow into larger suburban homes or remodel their existing spaces. This demographic represents 15% of today’s population. Additional Xers may be recently divorced or single, and looking for smaller homes or multifamily options to suit their needs. This group values functionality in their space as well as the ability for customization.
This young generation, ages 17 to 29, is taking advantage of the housing market and investing in their first home. According to the U.S. News & World Report, this demographic will shape the housing market over the next two decades. They make up 30% of the U.S. population and are looking for urban spaces in walkable communities. Technology is also important to this group.
These changes in the market have led to several residential building trends, which we’ll see continue to increase over time:
- Smaller, luxurious homes are in. Although mansions are making a slight comeback.
- Open, casual living spaces are taking the place of formal living and dining spaces.
- The kitchen is the center of the party.
- Homes with more than one master suite.
- Mixed-use communities are growing in popularity.
As the idea of a nuclear family changes, so will the needs, and definition, of today’s homebuyer. Are you prepared? What are you seeing in today’s market?