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Suburban Living Preferred by Generation Y Over City Condos


Economists and demographers have long debated what type of home living people born in the 1980s and 1990s prefer. Known as Generation Y, this group consists primarily of grown baby boomer children. For some time, it was argued that Generation Y has no problem living in small apartments or condominiums but only if there is easy access to things like work, entertainment, mass transportation, dining, and so on.

However, a newly released survey sheds a very different light on the topic. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the trade group National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) surveyed more than 1,500 people born after 1977. These individuals were asked what type of home living they preferred with the majority saying single-family homes outside of the urban hub.

The bottom line, a large number of Generation Y wants to live in an urban environment with many of them already making plans to relocate to the suburbs sometime in the near future..

2013 NAHB Survey

In 2013, the National Association of Home Builders gathered information from Generation Y and found that over 80 percent of home buyers preferred living in a highly energy efficient home as a means of lowering utility bills throughout the lifetime of ownership.

In addition to affordability, Generation Y has very distinct preferences for floor plans and features as stated by Rick Judson, chairman of NAHB, as well as developer and homebuilder in the state of North Carolina. A few examples include:

  • Game and/or media rooms


  • State-of-the-art wiring and electronic components to accommodate surround sound systems, security alarms, and high-definition televisions

New Survey Information

Although people from Generation Y will continue to purchase condominiums or smaller homes in downtown areas, most have their sights set on living in the suburbs. From the survey very specific statistics were unveiled.

  • 66 percent of Generation Y want to live in a single-family home located in the suburbs
  • 24 percent are more interested in rural areas
  • 10 percent prefer living in the heart of a city

The main issue has to do with more space. Of those surveyed, roughly 81 percent were interested in buying a home with at least three bedrooms, preferably more.

For virtually every industry in the United States, these preferences are important simply because Generation Y consists of up to 80 million people. However, the information offers the greatest value of builders. Knowing these people want to live in the suburbs helps builders understand future demand. David Berson, Nationwide Insurance Company’s chief economist added that this is good news for current homeowners of single-family homes in suburban areas as well.

Some people feel the results of the survey are not completely accurate because only people who had purchased a home in the past three years or planned to buy one in the upcoming three years were included.

Excluded were individuals expecting to rent for several years, which is a significant portion of Generation Y. For those, two primary things hold them back from becoming homeowners, tight lending standards and high student loan debt.



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