What are some of the generational trends regarding room finishes and how can homebuilders adapt to them? Which trends are considered to be state-of-the-art and which ones are on their way out? Anya Chrisanthon, Chief Brand Officer at Anwego, facilitates a discussion on the topic with Lesley McCarthy, Senior VP of Model Division at Builders Design, Gena Kirk, VP of Studio Operations at KB Homes, and Carolyn Little, President of Studio Chateau.
The group discusses each generation’s spending habits and preferences. Lesley goes over the latest generation which benefits from dedicated study spaces and playrooms. According to her, members of Gen Z demand a sustainable and smart home and new home types, such as rent-to-own, auxiliary dwelling units, tiny homes, and rooms to accommodate entrepreneurs and gamers. Millennials prefer a broken floor plan for multifunctionality, in and out seamless living, healthy home and creativity in design and layout.
“I agree with Lesley, millennials are a very educated group of buyers. They do their homework,” says Gena Kirk who works primarily with that cohort. Carolyn agrees and adds that “the biggest thing is they are very smart, they want information on everything, they don’t take anything on blind faith. So many work at home and need to make sure they have the connectivity at home, the smart house that can help them accomplish that.”
Lesley goes over the next three generations, Gen X, who are reinventing middle-age living (multi-generational layouts, more rooms for public and private needs, storage), Baby Boomers, the more affluent cohort that is interested in aging-in-place spaces for work, hobbies, and entertaining, and Seniors, who are increasingly living in mixed-gen communities.
“I would say the majority of our buyers are between the Gen X and the Boomers. I agree, while they are very practical, they are looking for their final home. They want the house very specific to their needs and desires, they are willing to spend a little bit more to get the products and the home that they want,” says Carolyn.
The group discusses each generation’s preferences in-depth and the key post-COVID shifts in the industry in terms of the emotional connection that customers have to their homes, the demand for home flexibility, and focus on outdoor and healthy living.