The Layouts Millennials Want in a Home and Other Preferences

What kind of layout do Millennials envision for their home? A plurality of Millennials – 43 percent – want a completely open layout for their family room and dining room, a higher share than any other generation, according to an NAHB report, What Home Buyers Really Want (Figure 1). The report is based on a survey that asks prospective and recent home buyers about the preferences they want in a home and community. The shares of those who desire a completely open layout for their family and dining areas drops to 40 percent among Gen X’ers, 37 percent among Boomers, and to just 29 percent among Seniors.

Half of Millennials want a kitchen and dining room layout that is completely open. This layout is just as popular among Gen X’ers (50 percent) and essentially the same among Boomers (48 percent), but fewer Seniors (42 percent) find it appealing.  On the other hand, there is general agreement across generations when it comes to a completely open kitchen and family room layout: 43 percent of Millennials want this, 45 percent of Gen X’ers, 42 percent of Boomers, and 40 percent of Seniors.

Millennials are the least likely to want a single-story home (Figure 2). Only 35 percent of them expressed a preference for it, compared to 53 percent of Gen X’ers, 80 percent of Boomers, and 74 percent of Seniors. A majority of millennials – 55 percent – want a two-story structure. However, this option is not as popular among Gen X’ers (38 percent), Boomers (17 percent), and Seniors (21 percent). A minority of buyers in all generations want three-stories or a split-level home.

Considerable shares of Millennials want either ‘four plus bedrooms’ in their home (47 percent) or three bedrooms (40 percent) (Figure 3). This finding indicates that Millennials may want more space in their homes, perhaps to accommodate an expanding family.

A ‘four plus bedrooms’ may be too many for older generations as the preference for it falls with age: 38 percent of Gen X’ers prefer it, followed by 23 percent of Boomers, and 13 percent of Seniors. In contrast, the preference for ‘three bedrooms’ increases with age, from 40 percent of Millennials to 56 percent of Seniors.

When it comes to the number of bathrooms preferred, a majority across all generations want 2 or 2.5 bathrooms (Figure 4). The preference for 2 or 2.5 bathrooms rises with age. While 59 percent of Millennials want 2 or 2.5 bathroom, the share increases to 73 percent among Seniors.

Among the generations, Millennials are the most likely to choose three or more bathrooms – 27 percent, compared to 26 percent of Gen X’ers, 17 percent of Boomers, and 15 percent of Seniors.

Figure 5 shows the preference for basements by generation. A majority of Millennials – 73 percent — prefer to have a basement: 37 percent want a full basement (at an additional cost of $45,000) and 36 percent want a half basement (at an additional cost of $22,500). A majority of Gen X’ers would also prefer a basement (64 percent), slightly less than Millennials. This is not the case for older generations: a majority of Seniors (61 percent) and Boomers (52 percent) prefer a home without a basement.

This analysis shows that Millennials have diverging preferences when it comes to home layouts: considerable shares of them prefer open layouts, two-stories, and a relatively large number of bedrooms and bathrooms compared to older generations. Millennials are also more likely to want a basement in their home.

For additional information, an August 2019 NAHB study showed the history of Millennials’ preferences for select housing characteristics.  The greatest level of detail—including preferences for hundreds of items broken down by generation, by geography, first-time vs. repeat buyer, household composition, race, income, and price expected to pay for the home—is available in the 2019 edition of What Home Buyers Really Want.

Post by Carmel Ford, an economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). This post was originally published on NAHB’s Eye on Housing blog.

Featured image: The Brownstones at Chevy Chase Lake, photo by Thomas Arledge Photography

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