Millennial Homes: What do they really ‘want’?

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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.

 

Millennial Homes, Construction Caribbean
Built-in storage/multipurpose furniture.

 

Millennial Homes, Construction Caribbean
Built-in storage/multipurpose furniture.

 

Millennial Homes, Construction Caribbean
Sliding walls and flexible furniture

 

Millennial Homes, Construction Caribbean
Sliding walls flexible furniture

 

Millennial Homes, Construction Caribbean
Flexible furniture

 

Millennial Homes, Construction Caribbean
Sliding walls and flexible furniture

‘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.

Millennial Homes, Construction Caribbean
Adaptable home designs: Homes designed to adapt.

 

‘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.

Millennial Homes, Construction Caribbean

 

Millennial Homes, Construction Caribbean

 

Millennial Homes, Construction Caribbean

Millennial Homes, Construction Caribbean

 

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.

 

Millennial Homes, Construction Caribbean
Bold, retro-inspired, patterned wallpapers

 

Millennial Homes, Construction Caribbean
Bold, retro-inspired, patterned wallpapers

 

Millennial Homes, Construction Caribbean
Low maintenance ‘Subway’ tiled wall interiors

 

Millennial Homes, Construction Caribbean
Low maintenance ‘Subway’ tiled wall interiors

 

Millennial Homes, Construction Caribbean
Millennial Pink – Most popular generational colour trend

 

Millennial Homes, Construction Caribbean
Millennial Pink – Most popular generational colour trend

 

Millennial Homes, Construction Caribbean
Mis-matched materials, patterns and colour schemes

 

Millennial Homes, Construction Caribbean
Mis-matched materials, patterns and colour schemes

 

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.

 

Millennial homes, Construction Caribbean
Cool & Green Roofs: See – ‘Environmentally Friendly Roof Treatments’ https://constructioncaribbean.com/2017/11/28/environmentally-friendly-roof-treatments/

 

Millennial homes, Construction Caribbean
Cool & Green Roofs: See – ‘Environmentally Friendly Roof Treatments’ https://constructioncaribbean.com/2017/11/28/environmentally-friendly-roof-treatments/

 

Millennial Homes, Construction Caribbean
Grasscrete: The benefit of reducing concrete usage overall, as well as, improved stormwater absorption and drainage.

 

Millennial homes, Construction Caribbean
Squak Mountain Stone: 
 Made from Portland cement, waste fly ash, waste glass dust, mixed waste paper, and pigments -1/3 less CO2 produced during

 

Millennial homes, Construction Caribbean
Cork: A natural, recyclable and environmentally friendly product, highly adequate for green or zero carbon projects, as insulation and cladding material, with a guarantee of total reuse at the end of the building life-cycle

 

Millennial homes, Construction Caribbean
Bioglass: Durable and low maintenance – Made from melting and compressing 100% recycled glass products into layers

 

Millennial homes, Construction Caribbean
Durapalm: Harvested from coconut palms, this wood is slightly stronger than oak – 100% derived from old, non-fruiting palms

*View more eco-friendly countertops at sunset.com: https://www.sunset.com/home/earth-friendly-kitchen-counters#torzo-countertops

 

Millennial housing, Construction Caribbean
Home integrated phone apps: These can be used to adjust lighting, temperature air humidity, security and music and entertainment – generating statically accurate energy use charts

 

Millennial housing, Construction Caribbean
Nest Hello: Customisable doorbell with an integrated video camera, and motion sensors.

 

Millennial Housing, Construction Caribbean
August Smart Lock: Lock and unlock your door from your phone whether at home or away – able to work using Siri commands.

*View more of 2018’s top-ranked smart home devices at CNET.com: https://www.cnet.com/topics/smart-home/best-smart-home-devices/

 

REFERENCES:

1) http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/millennials/index.html?cid=PS_01_18_07_00_02_15_01

2) http://www.businessinsider.com/millennials-dont-buy-starter-homes-2017-10

3) https://www.ezrmanagement.com/millennial-design/

4) https://www.cnet.com/topics/smart-home/best-smart-home-devices/

5) https://inhabitat.com/11-green-building-materials-that-are-way-better-than-concrete/


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Michaela Gomes

Graduating class of 2016 from The University of Sheffield’s undergraduate architecture program, Michaela now works as an architectural assistant at MGA inc. with plans of resuming studies for her masters degree in 2018. Her prime interests in the field include humanitarian and social architecture - focusing on the development of communities through people centric design. After obtaining her full qualification she plans on bringing some of these ideas to Barbados in hopes of improving government housing and urbanism in the island. Contact: michaelaangomes@gmail.com

Michaela Gomes has 14 posts and counting. See all posts by Michaela Gomes