Generation Y, Suburb or Urban Dweller?


By Ed Roskowinski, CR

If you take all the baby boomers in the country and add eight million, what do you get?   Generation Y.

By 2015, Gen Y’ers or “Millennials” are expected to be the largest consumer demographic, at nearly one third of the U.S. population. This group is destined to shape the country’s consumer landscape every bit as much as their baby boomer parents did. And it hasn’t escaped me that they’re quickly coming into their first-time home buying years.

So what is it they’re looking for in a home?  Well according to a 2008 survey by real estate consulting firm Robert Charles Lesser & Co., 77% of them want to live in the urban core, not in the suburbs where they grew up. They want to be close to their jobs, friends, and shopping venues, and they want to be able to bike or walk to get there. In 1998, 64% of potential drivers 19-years-old and younger had drivers licenses. By 2008, that rate had dropped to 46%, according to the Federal Highway Administration.  This urban preference is particularly strong among WINKS, women with incomes and no kids. It’s important that real estate professionals understand the needs and desires of Gen Y’ers. At Vujovich Design Build, every home we’ve remodeled and nearly every new home we’ve created has been in place of an existing home, in established neighborhoods, primarily in the urban core.

Working from home, which is very different from the baby boomer created “home office,” is also a huge part of the Gen Y lifestyle. More progressive urban home designs reflect multiple work “destinations” throughout the interior and exterior of the home. These landing spots are less about desk space and storage, and more about inspirational surroundings, as well as a strong Wi-Fi connection.

Ok, since we went there, let’s discuss Gen Y’ers and their obsession with technology. A recent study by Gartner Research revealed that, if forced to choose, 46% of all 18-to-24-year-old drivers in the US would choose access to the Internet over access to a car. They are truly the first generation to grow up with the Internet, with most Gen Y’ers practically receiving a smart phone as a parting gift in the delivery room.  As homebuyers, these tech savvy individuals are looking to professional builders and remodelers to create homes possessing the capabilities equal to that of the USS Enterprise. Whole home audio, video and lighting are now operated by the smart phone in your pocket, and your garage is in need of a car charging station, not a workbench.

Whether you’re a baby boomer, a Generation X or a Generation Y, you’re certainly even more unique than the generational tag you’ve been given. So when you’re looking to purchase, build or remodel your home, be sure to work with someone who is open and willing to understand your unique LIFESTYLE.

Ed Roskowinski is General Manger and VP of Vujovich Design Build, Inc., a 35-year design build firm specializing in building and remodeling unique Twin Cities homes for unique homeowners.

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