How To Design Homes For Today’s Buyers Who Value Experiences Over Stuff

Originally posted on the blog No BS

“That’s all your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.” – George Carlin, Comedian

If George Carlin were still alive, he might have to retire his “more stuff” comedy routine since Americans are beginning to place a far greater value on having experiences over owning things.

According to the September 1, 2016, Fortune magazine article, “Why Americans Are Spending More on Experiences vs Buying Stuff,” spending on dining and recreation now far outpaces spending on “things” such as household goods and even cars.

Based on HSBC and Bureau of Economic Analysis Data, consumer spending has undergone a marked shift in the past 10 to 15 years. Spending on durable goods— the typical mainstays of both the U.S. gross domestic product and consumer life – has declined as a percentage of discretionary spending.

“Instead, consumer spending on recreation, travel and eating out has been trending up for more than a decade,” notes Kevin Logan, U.S. chief economist for HSBC.
Millennials Want to Create Experiences in Small but High-Quality Homes

In particular Millennials, who will outnumber Baby Boomers by 22 million in the year 2030, have said enough is enough when it comes to stuff. The Harris Group 2016 reports that 77 percent of Millennials would rather spend money on a cool experience over a cool product.

And according to Metrostudy 2016, when it comes to home-ownership Millennials prefer a small but high-quality home to create experiences in – NOT to “store more stuff” as Carlin previously ranted.


No longer satisfied to retire quietly into their last home by age 70, when they’re not traveling and having new experiences, many Boomers desire enough space for entertaining friends or for hosting their children and grandchildren.

But what these two groups have in common – who are buying homes now and will be well into the future – is their desire to live in homes that respond to their lifestyle needs, comforts and convenience.


BSB Design Senior Partner, Steve Moore, presented “Designing for the Experiential Home Buyer – Millennial or Boomer” at Builder Partnerships’ 2017 Executive Summit in Breckenridge, CO, on March 7, where summit attendees got “A Peek at the Future.” Look for additional installments from Steve with insights about major changes on the horizon that will affect the housing industry both for the near future and over the next 50 years.


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