During the Great Recession, the housing market took a hit and has been slowly recovering. Many millennials are now becoming homeowners and will be making waves in the home improvement industry.
As the largest living generation now in the workforce (surpassing boomers), home improvement companies must understand the impact of millennials in the industry to meet their needs. As of 2015, a third of the workforce is 53.5 million millennials, and this generation prefers to spend on experience. That doesn’t mean they won’t cash in their earnings on a house to be filled with loving memories.
Though Millennials are said to be more interested in renting, that’s no longer exactly true. Millennials have been saving the most money from the median age of 22 than any other generation, paying down student debt and bidding their time as they get ready to settle down.
In the past four years, those who are under 36 years old make up the largest category of home buyers at 34 percent, and 46 percent of buyers in this age range have a median student loan debt of $25,000, according to a 2017 report from the National Association of Realtors. Poised to shake up the workforce, the economy and the world, here’s how millennials will affect the home improvement industry:
Millennials Look for Homes with Character
Millennials aren’t shopping for shiny new houses or starter homes in need only minor repairs. Millennials prefer fixer-uppers. While the price tag is more affordable, millennials are looking for a home that already has character, where they will leave their mark.
A fixer-upper with good bones is prime real estate for millennials who can customize the home to fit their lifestyle and personal design aesthetic.
Millennials are Social Creatures
You only have to go a restaurant and wait in line with millennials to see where their attention goes — straight to their tech. Millennials are comprised of kids who grew up during the boom of the Information Age, and as adults they’re interconnected and looking for a home with great entertainment potential. For example, they’ll be looking to upgrade outdoor spaces into outdoor living spaces.
In 2017, outdoor cooking home improvement projects have the limelight with pizza ovens as a star feature, and homeowners can expect a 130% return on investment with outdoor kitchen projects. The dawn of the tiny house movement has millennials sticking with minimalism even when it comes to purchasing a practical home and making additions for entertainment. It’s all about using the space they already have with purpose.
Millennials Focus on Practical Furniture Upgrades
Millennials are ready to upgrade what’s useful: 75 percent of millennials are concentrating on furniture and accessories, while 45 percent are planning/undergoing home improvement projects, and 35 percent agree that the time is now when it comes to spending on home improvement projects.
Millennial homeowners are honing in on more cheaper and practical ways to upgrade their space by knowing exactly when to replace their furniture. When it comes to remodeling, the upcycling trend wins: reupholster over replacement. For example, a typical sofa lasts 7 to 15 years, and millennials choose to save a vintage item with a sound structure by reupholstering the sofa’s fabric instead of sitting it out on the curb.
Millennials have outgrown dorm furniture and want to invest in timeless pieces they’re able to put an unique spin on. This creates an opportunity for home improvement companies to take upcycling to its next stage of evolution, as projects move beyond the scope of DIY to a focus on professional customization.
For Millennials, Technology is King
Appliance upgrades, including stainless steel everything, has been a typical home shopper attraction factor. However, many millennials would prefer a home automation system over a decked out kitchen with all the frills, unless your client is a chef — even then, millennials can still have both. Millennials want safety and convenience with charm: doors that open themselves, eco-friendly lights that click off and on and a reliable modern home security system.
When marrying technology with remodeling, home improvement companies must keep in mind that millennials want to feel like part of a community, interacting in local cafes and gyms, but that also means their homes must be fully automated, too.
Millennials have arisen as the largest generation in the workforce, saving more money than any other generation. With the recovery of the housing market, millennials are increasingly turning into home buyers with shifting expectations and needs in the home improvement industry.
Millennials want fixer-uppers with character where they can entertain while staying up-to-date on the latest home technology and saving old sofas with sound structures from the landfill. Be ready for unique projects. These eco-conscious, tech-savvy young home buyers are eager to make their new houses into homes.