Last month, I attended NAHB’s midyear meeting in Miami and had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation by Daniel Swift, president and CEO of Des Moines-based architecture group BSB Design.
Slackers No, Buyers Yes
Generation X are now the booming home buyers.
Builders have been paying a lot of attention to the wants and needs of Baby Boomers over the last couple of years because they make up nearly 30% of America’s population. With that focus, it may be easy to forget another sizeable market segment just coming into their prime as home buyers: Generation X.
There are 45 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 40, and nearly 37% of those under age 30 already own their own home. This shows the buying power of the younger generation and also shows how many potential home buyers are still out there.
According to real estate advisors The Concord Group, with offices in San Francisco and Newport Beach, Calif., Generation X members think of themselves as unique and different and they want homes that reflect their individuality instead of their financial success.
"Much of this population grew up with a legacy of divorce, as latchkey kids facing urban decay and financial uncertainty," says Emma Tyaransen, market strategist with The Concord Group.
"They seem to be seeking stability and lifestyle, whereas Boomers rank prestige and security highest on their home buying list of priorities," notes Tyaransen.
Tyaransen and The Concord Group have worked with several master-planned community developers and big builders throughout the West and California, where most of Gen X is concentrated. What they have found is that this younger generation seeks four-sided architecture, varied streetscapes, a mix of exterior and interior materials and landscaping packages with design freedom.
"Whether they are urban or suburban home buyers, members of this population segment want high-tech homes with less formal floor plans. They want to make the most of less space and live a casual lifestyle," says Tyaransen.
"There are so many young professionals already eligible for home purchases, and there will only be more in the future. Ninety-two percent of this generation say they want to achieve the American Dream, of which owning a home is a major part. The slacker stereotype just doesn’t fit for them."