Has the home-buyer really changed and become more urban, or is it the same as it ever was?

Pulte Homes/Promo image

We keep writing that cities are booming, that all the cool kids want to live downtown and that the suburbs are dinosaurs on the verge of extinction. That Richard Florida is right and that Joel Kotkin is a jerk apologist for sprawl.

Then the numbers keep coming back and biting. Like the latest Case Shiller index showing Phoenix prices up 23.2% and the national average up 8.1%. Or this new survey by Pulte, a big American homebuilder that 65% of young Americans are sick of living in apartments and want to buy a new home.

Pulte/Promo image

It's interesting what they want in a home, after being stuck in an apartment. According to a Pulte VP:

"Millennials today want a lot of value in their home that makes efficient use of every space. In fact, the single most important home feature to a millennial buyer today is the floor plan layout." Not surprising then is that 69 percent of millennials overwhelmingly want an open/layout space in the kitchen and family rooms for entertaining family and friends.

More precisely, they want:
Storage. because we all collect so much stuff, you almost have to move just to have a place for it all.

TV, Movie and Sports Watching And I thought this is why young people went to bars and movie theatres, to be social. But as they get older, it all converges on the media room.

Entry. I don't know what they mean here, particularly since most Americans enter their home from the garage, through the mudroom. They also want an outdoor living space and the ability to work from home, in much smaller numbers than I would have thought. There are other differences from their parents:

The vast majority of millennials aren't moving into their first home on their own. Millennials plan to be coupled in their home with 76 percent indicating they will live with a spouse or significant other, and of those not moving in with a significant other, 22 percent anticipate having a roommate, including a friend, parent, in-law, grandparent or sibling living with them.

What are the developers saying?

With the combination of incredibly low mortgage rates, rising rental rates, and very low inventory levels, millennials realize now is a good time to purchase a home.

Until their inability to qualify for a mortgage, bankrupt municipal services, rising gasoline prices and water rates cause the whole thing to crash again.

Tags: Housing Industry

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