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The times they have changed. In the early 1960’s only 20% of young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 actually lived with their parents. Recent surveys now put that number at almost one third of Millennials still living in their parent’s home. That means that adult children are now living longer with mom and dad and putting off many of life’s major events such as getting married and having children. Another fact surprising to many, the Millennials outnumber the Boomers. After a small dip as Gen X works its way through, the Millennials are a bigger wave than Boomers.
What Does the Surge of Millennials Mean to Housing?
The U.S. housing market has continued to build bigger homes. In 2005 large homes, between 3,000 and 4,000 square feet, accounted for 15.6% of the market. In 2014, that number jumped to 21.7%. That means the average home size is rising in the U.S. again. However, in surveys and in buying patterns, Millennials want small homes that are well appointed. Ironically, Boomers want the very same thing. That means that the two largest buying segments of the market are fighting for the exact same home in many markets. However, the big difference between the two groups is that Boomers are typically downsizing and can afford large down payments or even pay cash to get the home they want.
With lending requirements what they are, most conventional lenders are still at 20% down putting many Millennials at a disadvantage. They haven’t been able to save the down payment necessary to get the home they want. That is changing with many of the Federal programs that exist to help with first time buyers to get them into the market with smaller down payments, many in the range of 3 to 5%.
However, in a very competitive existing home market, Millennials are at a disadvantage. When sellers are getting multiple offers on an existing home, the one with cash and a fast close typically wins. Millennials are finding themselves to be the underdog because they have to make contingent offers.
What are Some Home Features Millennials and Boomers Have in Common?
When buying a new home today, it is typically the first home for Millennials and it is a down-sized home for Boomers. However, they both want very much the same things in a home:
Amenities – Both groups want small, but they also want nice. Great curb appeal for the exterior of their home is a requirement, but equally as important is high functionality in the indoor space. Because there is less of it, every square foot has to be able to do more. Home plan design becomes much more important when interior space is at a premium. Kitchen and bath areas have to be accessible and convenient. Standard items aren’t attractive to either age group.
Convenience and Recreation – Location is important. Access to entertainment, health care, and interesting social events is important. Bike and walking friendly trails along with other outdoor recreation space offers another strong draw for both age groups.
Small – While the space is important, space means different things to both groups. For Boomers, it is a time to downsize and shed unnecessary items that require time and money to clean and maintain. For Millennials, space costs more; both for initial purchases, taxes, and for maintenance.
What is Universal Design or Better Living Design?
Over the years many have heard of Universal Design. However, many have incorrectly equated it to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) design which has an “institutional” feel. That is not what it is at all! Over recent years, the term “Universal Design” has started to morph into a new term called Better Living Design.
When done properly, Better Living Design enhances a homes design, making it easier to live in for all ages… everyone from 5 to 85! A shocking fact to many is that while deaths from falls in a home occur most frequently in people aged 65 years or older, young adults aged 15–29 years and children aged 15 years or younger are a very close second. Better Living Design isn’t just needed for seniors!
There are 7 key features of Better Living Design:
- Equitable Use – The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
- Flexibility In Use – The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities
- Simple and Intuitive Use – Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
- Perceptible Information – The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.
- Tolerance For Error – The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
- Low Physical Effort – The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
- Size And Space For Approach And Use – Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation and use regardless of user’s body size, posture or mobility.
When done right, the incorporation of Better Living Design is subtle, if not invisible. It just makes a home “easier” to live in. However, you notice when you enter a home that doesn’t have it.
While many Millennials may not think about it, it makes their lives and that of the children they may be caring for better and safer. In addition, when it comes time to sell the home, the market for the new home is practically doubled because of the appeal of features that are contained in the home.
Custom Modular Homes Can Offer a Solution
You may be a Boomer looking to downsize and want the home you want in a location you want it. You may be a Millennial working to find the perfect home with the features you demand in a space you can afford. In both cases, modular homes may offer the perfect solution.
Modular construction is performed indoors and out of the weather. Moisture isn’t trapped in the home. Quality is enhanced. With modern modular design, just about any home plan can be built using modular construction.
Energy efficiency is key. High performance construction leads to lower energy use, which in turn increases livability by lowering energy bills while enhancing comfort in your new home. Learn more about how modular construction can lead to better living at a great value at Impresa Modular.
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