Millennial Homes have been a hot topic in recent times since the millennial generation, defined as those born between early 1980’s to early 2000’s, are now entering our housing market.
The millennial lifestyle pushes boundaries and disregards norms. It sees value in experience over material possessions and stability, it takes the unconventional route, and with it arouses much speculation.
Many arguments are made that this behaviour is the backlash of the current state of the economy, which has made property acquisition just that much more difficult. Maybe, independent or in conjunction with this, it stems from a rejection of slow and steady progress towards traditional standards of ‘success’ and ‘happiness’, often defined by money, social standing/hierarchy and ownership; causing a redirect towards travel and lifestyle.
Whatever the case, it seems unpopular amongst this generation to root themselves to one place or job, creating an interesting dynamic between them and the housing market. The average millennial tends to postpone conventional life milestones such as marriage, and procreation.
A study from Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research indicated that whereas in the 70’s, the median marital age was 23, millennials are more driven towards thriving as part of a community, and are getting hitched around their 30s.
Due to this lifestyle, the generation often looks to rent rather than buy. An article posted by Business Insider in October of 2017, stated that millennials aren’t buying “starter homes”.
Instead, they tend to rent until their 30s, then spend more on their first homes. So how can we appeal to an anti-buyer generation from the early stages? This lies in strategic planning and design of houses catered specifically to this demographic.
4 Design Considerations for Millennial Homes
1.Accessibility and Community
With traditional milestones occurring later, a sense of community and social network become a valuable aspect of millennial residences. This connection can be found in accessibility to workplaces, resources, social hubs, and on a smaller scale, integration and involvement within neighbourhoods and blocks. Because of this, a more urban location is often seen as more favourable.
2.Functionality and Adaptability
With a preference towards a more urban, central location, come naturally smaller homes. However, smaller doesn’t necessarily mean cramped. A key feature driving millennial housing is the concept of multi-functionality. This could be applied to built-in/hidden storage, movable walls or multi-purpose furniture, and is accompanied by open floor plans to prevent the feeling of enclosure. Another noteworthy element is the building’s ability to adapt to changed living circumstances. This corresponds to a pre-construction design feature, which allows for easy future expansion of living spaces, whether this be in the form of an external deck, office, or extra bedroom.
‘Half a House’, ELEMENTAL: Designed with the ability to easily expand with growth in income or extended family. There are 4 of these Housing Projects for Open-Source Use.
‘House Between Pillars’, Camp Design: House comprised of equally distanced pillars which can be fitted to form a variety of modules and create boundaries, personalised by the owner.
3.Originality and Personality
A substantial deterrent for the millennial buyer lies within ‘cookie cutter’ neighbourhoods. Instead, the generation tends to be more drawn to originality. This doesn’t necessarily mean the tiring process of producing hundreds of vastly different building typologies, but rather two to three modules, which possess the possibility of customisation in a few design aspects. With housing becoming smaller, there is a greater budget for design details, and the millennial obsession lies in minimalism with pops of creativity and personality, bringing back previously outdated design elements.
4.Technology and Sustainability
This generation has shown a greater consciousness towards energy use, efficiency and savings. There has been an incline in requests for eco-friendly materials such as non-toxic paint, energy star appliances, LEED compliant light fixtures, shared resources, and renewable sources within apartment blocks. This stems from a greater awareness of our environmental conditions, as well as an understanding that such considerations can yield future benefits (For example, the EPA recently estimated that homeowners save up to $501 every year with eco-friendly windows). Once affordability is not compromised, it is worth considering the benefits of smart homes. Integrated home technologies increase safety, accessibility, energy efficiency, and subsequently cut energy costs. For example, by remotely setting your lights to operate at 80% during the day, having the ‘universal off switch’ at your fingertips when leaving the house, or setting timers and motion sensors, you are already making your home a little more green.
*View more eco-friendly countertops at sunset.com: https://www.sunset.com/home/earth-friendly-kitchen-counters#torzo-countertops
*View more of 2018’s top-ranked smart home devices at CNET.com: https://www.cnet.com/topics/smart-home/best-smart-home-devices/