What Millennials Really Want in a Home

These days, it’s all about millennials.

Millennials—those born between approximately 1981 and 1999—have fascinated businesses, economists, and researchers. From their attitudes towards work, social issues, and technology, there’s no question millennials have been influential in society.

This is particularly true when it comes to the economy and housing market. Millennials hold significant buying power—numbering about 80 million and spending an impressive $600 billion1 each year.

At 34 percent2, millennial homebuyers also make up the largest group of buyers. So what do millennials buying homes really want, and where do they want to live?

Heading out to the suburbs

The suburbs are more appealing to millennial homebuyers than urban dwellings, with up to 66 percent of millennials surveyed showing a preference for the suburbs, versus around 16 percent who prefer big city living3.

aerial view of a neighborhood
Affordable housing prices and available amenities are leading many millennials to the suburbs.

The ideal neighborhood for millennials is a mixture of both the suburbs and the city. Rather than settling down in bedroom communities, they prefer areas that have walking access to shopping and entertainment, good public school districts, and well-kept parks, jogging trails, and green space.

Single family homes are in demand

Another reason millennials prefer the suburbs to city life is that they don’t want to share walls—75 percent4 of millennials prefer a single-family home to a condo or apartment.

This is a generation that values relationships and connections with people they care about, so millennials also want enough room to host friends and family. Larger, single-family homes with outdoor space for entertaining are important to this age group. The average ideal home size is just under 2500 square feet, and 78 percent5 desire an open-floor concept that brings people in the home together.

Making room for Fido

For a growing number of millennials, the decision to purchase a home is influenced by their desire to give their four-legged friends a better life. In fact, one survey found 33 percent6 of recent millennial homebuyers’ decision to purchase a home was influenced by their pets. This decision even outranked motivators like marriage and having children; 25 percent said marriage was the reason they wanted to buy a home, while 19 percent cited their children as the motivating factor.

dog looking at indoor camera in a smart home
With a fondness for pets, millennials are often seeking homes that work for their pets.

Not only do millennials want to avoid the breed restrictions and fees that go along with owning a dog, but they also want a yard with space for their pets to run and play.

Dog-related amenities, like indoor cameras that allow them to check in on their pets during the day and home upgrades specifically for dogs (such as dog washing stations or doggy doors) also ranked high on wish lists for millennials in the market for a home.

front door house
Millennials are looking for single family homes with space to grow.

Going for lasting value

While many millennials are first-time homebuyers, that doesn't necessarily mean they're getting starter homes. In fact, 30 percent of millennials bought homes for $300,000 this year, opting for bigger homes. Renting longer and delaying home buying—due in part to the effects of the Great Recession— many millennials enter the home buying market ready to buy a bigger home that will meet their immediate and future needs.

Energy efficient homes are a win-win

The environment is one of the biggest global concerns for millennials, and 78 percent8 are willing to change their lifestyle and shopping habits to help protect the environment. Millennials’ desire to help conserve energy and protect the environment has helped fuel the current trend of environmentally-friendly features in homes.

smart lighting front door
Smart lighting and smart thermostats conserve energy and help homeowners save money. A win-win for millennial homeowners.

Millennials want homes that have energy efficient features like solar panels, energy efficient appliances, and technology in their homes that will help them conserve energy, such as smart lighting and smart thermostats. This not only helps them save money but satisfies their desire to do their part in helping the environment.

Add smart home technology

It’s no surprise that the generation that grew up with tablets, laptops, and smartphones would want a home that is as technologically savvy as they are. When house hunting, a home with smart home features tops the list of millennial wish lists. One of the main things they want is integrated home technology; 86 percent are even willing to spend more money for smart home technology.9

smart thermostat wall control
Smart home technology is convenient and practical. For instance, you can control your smart thermostat from your smart home app.

Smart home features millennials will love

Some smart home upgrades that tend to appeal to millennial buyers include:

  • Smart thermostats. Smart thermostats learn the temperature preferences of homeowners and automatically adjusts to provide an extra level of comfort and convenience. As a bonus, smart thermostats also provide savings while helping the environment by conserving energy usage.
  • Remote access to homes. The ability to remotely control locks, lights, security, view camera feeds, and more via a smart home app is appealing to most buyers, millennials or otherwise. Knowing you can stay connected to your home wherever you may be, adds peace of mind.
  • Smart locks. A home with smart locks means you never have to be in the middle of your commute and wonder, “Did I lock my doors?” Just use your smart home app to lock or unlock doors, or set custom rules that lock them automatically. They also eliminate the need for spare keys—give guests a unique access code instead of a key—which is particularly convenient for millennials who often host visitors and family.
smart locks on front door
Take control of your front door from anywhere with a smart lock.

Ultimately, for millennials, a home that integrates with technology and provides convenience, security, and the ability to enjoy their families and neighborhoods will be a winner.

Ready to see how any home can become a smart home? Give us a call at 800.646.1469 for a free smart home design consultation.


1 - "How The Millennial Generation Could Affect The Economy Over The Next Five Years". 2015.

2 - "Who's Powering the Housing Market? Surprise! It's Millennials". 2017. NBC News.

3,4,5 - "What Millennials Want in a New Home". 2015.

6 - "Millennials Are Buying Homes Because of Their Dogs - Not Their Children or Marriages". 2017. Money.

7 - "From their parents' basements to dream homes: Millennials are skipping starter houses". 2018. USA TODAY.

8 - "Millennials: Climate Change Is World's Biggest Problem". 2017. Ecowatch.

9 - "Millennials Want Smart Home Tech More Than Anyone". 2017.

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