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Sellers, there’s a new buyer in town

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People currently in their 20s and early 30s, or Millennials, have very different ideas of what makes a house a perfect home when compared to the Baby Boomers and Generation X buyers that came before them. If your home is on the market it is important that you, as well as your agent, understand the preferences of this market.

According to Tony Clarke, MD of Rawson Property Group, a major study done by research company Nielsen in 2014, found that 62% of Millennials prefer living in mixed-use, or a live-work-play community in an urban centre. This new generation buyer wants to be able to walk to work, shops, restaurants, and the gym. In fact, the survey revealed that 40% Millennials already living in urban areas (at a higher rate than any other previous generation) have no interest in relocating to the suburbs in the future.

“While Millennials are not keen on living in suburban areas, there is quite a large contingent of them that do like the idea of living in a small country town,” explains Clarke. “Provided that all amenities are within walking distance, and that the town has excellent cell phone and internet connectivity to enable them to work remotely.”

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It should not come as a surprise that most of the new generation buyers prefer smaller homes to larger ones requiring lots of time and upkeep. Clarke points out, however, that Millennial buyers also do not like cookie-cutter homes that all look the same or have the same floorplan. “Millennials are big on individuality and DIY, with these characteristics often spilling over into their choice of homes,” he says, citing a Better Homes and Gardens survey which found that 30% of Millennial buyers would actually prefer a complete fixer-upper that can be transformed to reflect their individual taste and style.

A different approach than that taken by previous generations where buyers would go to great lengths to ensure that the homes purchased are move-in ready with minimal work needed.  Another factor to consider that is different from previous generations is the technologies that Millennials want to find, or put inside the homes they buy.

Clarke explains that because Millennials lead such technology-driven lives an increasingly high level of home automation has become important. Features such as smart-phone-controlled temperature, sound and security systems, and an efficient use of space are in demand. Whereas “green” features such as additional insulation, energy efficient windows and appliances, and natural or recycled building materials are almost seen as a given, dismissed by Millennial buyers as nothing special.

Most buyers may still prefer homes with an open layout to easily facilitate entertaining, and outdoor spaces like patios, decks and large balconies to extend their living areas. But most of them are working from home, so home offices are fast becoming a must-have feature. Clarke adds that Millennial buyers also need loads of storage space for gadgets and sport equipment and that these buyers like a spare room that can function as a home gym, library, or games room just as easily as it can become a guest bedroom.

Finally, with regards to interior choices, Millennial buyers prefer neutral colours and clean architectural lines that won’t date. Lots of light and durable, long-lasting and unfussy finishes also score top marks.

Thinking of relocating? Make sure the suburb you’re looking at has what you need


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