Striver Drivers

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Despite conventional wisdom, Generation Xers are more like the rest of us than anyone suspected. As of last year, more Xers than baby boomers planned to buy homes, says American Demographics magazine.

February 01, 2002

 

Strivers buy homes similar in exterior style to the ones they grew up in.
The detached single-family home holds sway over all Americans, even younger buyers.
Age 23 to 36, Strivers are buying more homes than baby boomers. These are the top reasons they gave for selecting the new house they recently purchased.

Despite conventional wisdom, Generation Xers are more like the rest of us than anyone suspected. As of last year, more Xers than baby boomers planned to buy homes, says American Demographics magazine.

In recent years, the stereotype of the 46 million Americans born from 1965 to 1978 focused on their striving nature and seeming predisposition toward urban living. As a group, experts say, Strivers tend to work long hours and be technology-savvy and financially aware. The implication for builders is that a more upscale set of buying preferences is now being felt in the first-time and first move-up markets, regardless of whether some in the group can afford upscale prices.

In addressing this group’s needs, builders such as Centex Homes’ Washington state division are offering small-lot and small-square-footage homes with upgraded finishes near the urban core. But that is only part of the story.

The most startling information to come out of a new consumer study on Strivers by Professional Builder is the similarities between these younger home buyers and those of previous generations. A PB survey of 1,200 Striver households that recently purchased a home or planned to do so during the ensuing six months found that Strivers defy easy categorization. While a large percentage (27.7%) said they bought a home “downtown” or “within the city,” almost as many (25.7%) described their new neighborhood as “rural.” Another 27.4% said their home is in an “outlying suburb.”

When we asked boomers in 2000 for the reasons they bought a newly built home, the leading responses were floor plan (77.6%), size/number of rooms (70.2%), good design (67.6%), style and appearance (63.4%), quality home (61.2%) and price/ affordability (60.5%). Strivers responding in August 2001 answered similarly (see graphics).

In general, the research shows that Strivers want single-family detached homes with open floor plans and traditional exteriors with brick or vinyl siding. On average, the home would have 1,914 square feet, 3.3 bedrooms, 2.3 baths, a two-car garage and a selling price of $150,000.

Strivers think green even if most have not heard the term green building. They say energy efficiency, indoor air quality and resource conservation during construction are important factors.

Strivers use the Internet as a resource to research and select — in this order — a community, a home, building products and a builder. But they pre-shop on the Web less than you might imagine. Real estate agents are still popular, as is driving through neighborhoods. Both ranked ahead of the Internet. All three beat newspapers, which were fourth.





 

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