In 2015, millennials surpassed baby boomers as the largest segment of the population. According to the 2016 NAR report, Millennials-those born between 1980 and 2000 – now make up 35% of the buyer market with 68% saying their current home is only a stepping stone. However, they’re proving to be a difficult market to pin down.

Many are waiting until later in life to start families. Others are saddled with student debt and low wages, which is preventing them from amassing significant savings. Regardless, many of them still express a wish to be homeowners.  What they want in a home is now leading to big changes in home design. Here’s a look at what millennials want in a home and why.

Practicality

Compared to older generations, millennials are more pragmatic in their housing needs. There’s more desire for multi-functional rooms that can serve dual purposes. Spare rooms are also making a comeback as they can be designed by the owner to meet whatever their needs are such as a game room or optional bedroom. In terms of square footage, for most millennials, it’s a case of less is more. Minimalism is the new buzzword as people look for ways to optimize their space and cut down on wastage.

Location

Although often touted as a generation that prefers city living, many studies show that this applies to only a small portion (5% to 16% – depending on the study). With such a large demographic though this still translates into big numbers.

When it comes to location, millennials want a place that is close to work and things to do. One study, out of 1000 respondents, found that 33% favor a home that is less than 10 miles from a major city. While 30% are willing to settle for a home no more than 25 miles from a major city. Location may be something their willing to sacrifice on but one thing they want is quality of materials.

Design

Home design is one of the top motivating factors in choosing a home for millennials, with an emphasis on functionality. As many millennials have few savings to put into design after closing they prefer homes that come ready made with all the amenities they desire.

A generation ago, the living room was the center of the home, nowadays that has shifted to the kitchen. An open floor plan is now the preferred option with many favoring an integrated design that allows more flow during social gatherings. Millennials are also far more in-tune with the style of home they want than previous generations.

Information is now so freely available online that buyers can spend time deciding what they want before their home search even begins. What they want is a home that fits their social lifestyle.

A home office space was also found to be an important factor in choosing a home. Even if the buyer doesn’t work at home full-time a recent study found that 80-90% of the US workforce plan to telework at least part-time.

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