The Generation Y Home

From on June 12, 2008 in CalFinder News

home-for-sale.jpgGeneration “Y” is growing up, and growing up fast. At a rate faster and younger than their Baby Boomer and Gen-X predecessors, Generation Y’ers are buying homes. The average age of a home buyer now rests at 26…yet these young prospectors are all but resting. They are technology and internet savvy, fearless and emboldened and, perhaps, the bit of glue holding a slumping housing market together.

But what sort of home features are these new homeowners looking for? It is not the vast acreage of rural America. And it is not the gargantuan McMansions of their parent’s generation. So what are they buying? They are buying small. They are buying green. And they are getting what they want, and sooner than their parents did.

Generation Y’ers tend to live a busybody lifestyle, juggling as many activities in a day as they do websites—and they want homes that fit this go-getter lifestyle. They like to travel a lot and so do not want large, high maintenance homes. They are ecologically minded and thus do not want rural homes, they want a home with access to public transit or close enough to work so that they can walk.

But it’s not just location that drives these young trendsetters. They are exploring new ideas in homebuilding and home improvement. Gen Y’ers are seeking out modular homes, not only for their lower price tag, but also for the comparative lack of waste and the relative ease of using green materials (i.e., recycled countertops, bamboo cabinets, etc.) in construction. Modular homes are more energy efficient than site-built homes because they are built in a factory, out of the weather, and sealed tighter. And this is just fine for Generation Y’ers who want open, more communal floor plans, preferring more of a loft style feel.

Demountable wall panels may play a key role in new homes and Generation Y remodels. These panels have traditionally been limited to office cubicles, staying clear of the residential market. But recently, in response to the demand for an environmentally friendly, versatile, and more malleable home, movable wall panels are making their way into the homeowner arena. Built the full thickness of a stick-built wall, demountable systems allow for easy changing of wall material and re-wiring as need and desire warrant. It is as if they were developed for Generation Y’ers, and perhaps they were. Still, these panels are only available through architects and designers, so you are unlikely to find one at your local home store.

But be ready. Young buyers are flocking to more urban areas, where public transportation is readily available. Gen Y’ers are sensitive to the toll a long commute takes on the environment, and their wallet. They know technology and they are not afraid to research and find the right job for them, at the right location for them, with the right home for them. Generation Y is young, educated, employed, and buying houses at a young age. They may be the force that drives green building into the mainstream.