each child to have their own bedroom where they can have sleepovers or where they can practice their musical instruments. The NAR report states that Gen Xers wish to have a house that includes over 2,300 square feet of finished area.
Some Gen Xers are caring for their aging Baby Boomer parents in their home at the same time as they are raising their children. These families desire homes that are appropriate for multi-generational families, with areas that provide a quiet retreat for the grandparents as well as open areas for family interaction. A separate guest suite designed using universal design guidelines, such as a bathroom with shower seats and no-threshold showers, would be very enticing to these Gen Xers. And looking forward, they also want the spaces in their home to be flexible to fit their family needs as they change. Perhaps the separate guest suite will later serve one of their children who lives temporarily at home while searching for a job after graduating from college.
3. Luxury Amenities
For the first time Gen Xers have the income to purchase
new homes with the luxury amenities they have always desired but couldn’t afford. In fact, Gen Xers as a group buy the most expensive homes of all the generations—a median home price of $261,000. They are enthused about having the opportunity—finally— to choose and customize the design features in their homes.
Some of the amenities Gen Xers desire revolve around the need for more storage space for their larger families, while they also look to reduce energy costs. On their list of essentials are walk-in pantries that include storage for bulk purchases, garage storage, a laundry room, a full bath on the main level, hardwood flooring on the main floor, and an outdoor patio. Also on the list is their preference for Energy Star certified homes. Gen Xers check for Energy Star qualified windows and appliances; ceiling fans that help reduce HVAC costs, and exterior lighting for safety.
4. Communicate Understanding and Patience Gen Xers are understandably nervous about making
the right decision regarding their new home purchase and generally take much longer than other generations to obtain the necessary down payment. A commentary posted this year by economist Amanda Riggs on the National Association of REALTORS® blog, Generation X: Buying the Biggest Homes & Biggest Home Sellers, clarifies the current situation. Gen Xers primarily use savings and proceeds from a previous sale for the down payment, but a large percentage are delayed four or five years from purchasing a home due to credit card debt and child care expenses. Riggs states, “This group of buyers cancels vacations more than other age groups in order to save for a home. … Of the six percent that have a mortgage lender reject their application, 20 percent said it was due to their debt to income ratio.”
In order for you, a builder, to work successfully with Gen X homebuyers, it is important that you are aware of the huge struggle this generation has endured since the downturn in our economy. It is advisable to avoid high-pressure sales tactics and instead give these buyers plenty of time and breathing space to consider and reconsider their decisions. In this way, you can grow the Gen Xer’s trust and confidence in your company, which makes it all the more likely they will eventually choose to work with you.