National Association of Builders just wrapped up its annual International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Orlando this past weekend. Housing professionals from across the country and abroad attended the housing industry’s largest annual trade show and exhibition that featured the most cutting-edge designs, technologies, and products for all segments of the industry.
A big part of the conference focused on the housing needs of an aging baby boomer population, but according to Melina Duggal, a principal with Orlando-based real estate adviser RCLCO, the baby boomer’s children actually represent an even larger demographic. An estimated 80 million people comprise the category known as “Gen Y,” youth born roughly between 1980 and the early 2000s. The boomers, meanwhile, boast 76 million. According to Duggal, a whopping 88% of the Y generation want to be in an urban setting, but since cities themselves can be so expensive, places with shopping, dining and transit are the biggest priorities.
Gen Y has no desire to keep up with the Joneses, especially, when the Joneses aren’t living within their means. They have no interest in a lot of square footage, a 3-car garage and the gas-guzzling cars that occupy them. Gen Y tend to put off marriage and having children until they are comfortable in their careers. Being healthy and fit, ability to walk everywhere and being socially conscience is more than just a life style, it’s their way of life. They are the facebook, google, ipod and blogging generation. They want nice things, but only if they can afford them.
“With all of this in mind, we are building smaller, more energy-efficient homes with lots of amenities.” Co-owner and President Mark Wall stated. “Our customers come to us because they know they will get a beautiful custom, energy-efficient and affordable home without sacrificing quality.” Wall stated.
“We are just finishing up a three bedroom, custom colonial with front porch in a lovely neighborhood in one of Portland’s suburbs. It’s walking distance to the new park, walking and bike trails, Main Street, restaurants, shops and many area businesses. Not only is it a custom home on a smaller scale than what we typically build, it’s affordable. It’s the perfect house for the Y generation.” Wall stated.
Gen Y are all about friends, family and meaningful relationships. Staying in or entertaining at home is a must. The popularity of the outdoor kitchen is growing. Living in Maine means that you can only entertain outside for 3 seasons, so Mainers want to maximize that outdoor time. Although there might be less square footage in the home, customers are putting more emphasis on landscaping, decks, fire pits, stone walls and walkways.
It’s important that we keep up with what the latest building trends are, but more importantly we listen to what our customers want and don’t want regardless of what generation they are.