Generation X — adults ages 31 to 45 — are expected to lead the recovery in the housing market, according to real estate experts in a recent webinar produced by the National Association of Home Builders. During the event, speakers highlighted results of a survey of 10,000 buyers in 27 metro areas.
“They are in full force with their careers, and they need to accommodate growing families,” Carmichael says.
This generation is coming with their own set of house preferences that may differ from other generations. Even though home sizes continue to shrink, first-time buyers and younger families are looking for more room to grow, Carmichael says. Nearly 50 percent said they prefer a home with a large lot and in a suburban development. Only 21 percent said they are looking for a traditional or “walkable neighborhood,” according to the survey.
And many want “green,” energy-efficient features, too. Regardless of age group, 70 percent of buyers said in the survey they are willing to pay $5,000 more for a home with “green” features.
Most buyers also said they’d be willing to pay a premium for such housing characteristics as dark wood cabinets, a separate tub and shower, and a fireplace in the living room.
According to Urban Land Institute four major U.S. demographic trends that will have a major impact on housing.
1. Aging baby boomers (ages 55 to 64 years old): They will keep working, and many will be forced to stay in their suburban homes until values recover. Those who are able to move will choose mixed-age living environments that cater to active lifestyles. Walkable suburban town centers also will appeal to this group.
2. Younger baby boomers (46 to 54 years old): They are now entering their prime earning years but they will lack home equity and unlike the older members of their generation, they won’t be able to purchase second homes. This will likely curb the prospects for the second-home market.
3. Generation Y: They are larger than the baby boom generation (with a population of about 86 million). As they enter the housing market, they are less interested in homeownership than their parents were when they were young adults. “They will be renters by necessity or choice for years ahead,” says John K. McIlwain, author of the report.
4. Immigrants – both legal and illegal: They are nearly 40 million strong. They often prefer multi-generational households and if they can afford them, larger homes in neighborhoods with a strong sense of community.
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