Wondering who is going to lead the Atlanta real estate recovery? According to a recent NAHB webinar produced in partnership with Builder magazine, it will be none other than Generation X. This is my demographic group, which is comprised of young families and adults ages 31 to 45. While Gen X isn’t the largest buying demographic, it is the most mobile. The group is also the most likely to decide that now is a great time to buy. Many Gen Xers have growing families and growing housing needs. Additionally we have strong opinions on the features that should be included in homes, and according to the webinar are often willing to pay a bit more for green.
A survey of 10,000 buyers across 27 metro areas revealed that although the average home size is shrinking, a majority of prospective buyers said they would like a bigger home than the one they have. And while community amenities are important to Gen X buyers, 46 percent said they prefer a home in a large-lot, suburban development, versus the 21 percent looking for a traditional or “walkable” neighborhood.
Webinar panelist Heather McCune, director of marketing at Bassenian/Lagoni Architects in Newport Beach, Calif., emphasized that design will be important in generating sales in the emerging marketplace. “The notion of ‘build it and they will come’ no longer works. Design matters,” she said.but those responding to the survey said that they expected new homes to already have many green technology features. They also said they would pay a premium for dark wood cabinets, a separate tub and shower and a fireplace in the living room, and more preferred a great room over formal spaces.
McCune said buyers are looking for homes with a connection between indoor and outdoor spaces, even in colder climates, to create the perception of greater home size, even if the space is only usable for part of the year. They also want more storage, an open floor plan and flexibility in the garage.
“While Gen X numbers are smaller than the birth cohorts before and after them, their numbers have been enlarged by steady immigration,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Gen X may wait longer than their predecessors to establish their own household or buy a home because of the recent recession impacts, but the trends are still likely to occur as they have for past generations.”
This webinar was one in a four part series entitled New Horizons: Setting a Course for Success in the New Market. The series was sponsored by Simonton Windows and ThermaTru.