Millennial Home Preferences Shift Due to Pandemic

Home buyer preferences have continued to reverse trends in home building as builders work to respond to new interests in the wake of COVID-19. Increased desire for bigger homes, suburban locations and more outdoor amenities are driving new home design. One of the most striking results is the rise in the average size of a new home to 2,524 square feet as well as the percentage of new homes with more bedrooms and bathrooms.

Specific generations are driving these new home trends. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) conducted a recent survey of new and prospective home buyers across the country. More than a third of millennials (36%) and Gen Xers (34%) say their housing preferences have changed because of the pandemic, according to the survey.

In addition to a desire for more space and more bedrooms, millennials and Gen Xers are also looking for homes with modern or contemporary exteriors that are designed for multiple generations. Other changes include an interest in exercise rooms and home offices in their homes, as well as designated bike lanes in their communities.

“With this data, you immediately see that younger buyers have been impacted by the pandemic more than older generations,” said Rose Quint, NAHB assistant vice president of survey research.

Only 18% of baby boomers, on the other hand, noted a change in their preferences. Baby boomers are interested in smaller homes on smaller lots, preferably in the suburbs. They also have an eye toward energy efficiency; top features unique to this generation include energy-efficient lighting and ENERGY STAR appliances. Quint attributed the greater interest in energy-efficient features to prior homeownership. “Boomers have likely owned a home before and understand the costs of heating and cooling a home,” she noted.

The percentage of single-family homes with patios has risen to 63% as more emphasis has been placed on outdoor living in recent years. Home buyers across generations have also noted interest in exterior living, with millennials indicating a specific interest in front porches as well.

For more information about new homes and home buying trends, contact your local association, here.