Millennials are the largest generation by population, and although they waited to start buying homes, in 2022 they made up the largest share of home buyers at 43%. If you are a seller, it’s better to appeal to what millennials want in a home, or you risk losing a huge percentage of prospective buyers.

Millennials have some of the same preferences as baby boomers and Generation Z, but studies such as the millennial home buyer report from Real Estate Witch show that millennials have their own unique preferences shaped by their generation’s own character and economic circumstances.

Green Features in the Home

Millennials are enthusiastic about eco-friendly, energy-efficient homes — which may partially explain their preference for newly built homes. Not only are energy-efficient homes good for the environment, but they also offer big savings on utility costs and on new build home insurance.

Energy Star is a well-known green certification program that carries serious cachet with millennial buyers. Energy Star-certified homes use 20% less energy than conventional homes.

Other eco-friendly features, such as LED lighting, efficient water heaters, solar panels, insulated windows, and skylights, are all desirable to the environmentally-conscious millennial.

Home Insurance From a Seasoned Professional

According to a 2019 report titled “Understanding Millennial Insurance Consumers” compiled by Liberty Mutual and Safeco, millennial homeowners definitely want home insurance, but they’re shopping for it in a unique way.

The conventional wisdom that millennials buy everything online is true for home insurance — but only partly. While millennials are more likely than older generations to buy home insurance online, they still prefer to buy it from an independent agent who’ll explain to them how their policy works and what, exactly, is and isn’t covered. 

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While they are more likely than other generations to find and research agents online, they prefer to work face-to-face with an agent when it’s time to actually buy their insurance policy — suggesting that digital outreach should be the highest priority for insurance professionals hoping to capture millennial customers.

Another common assumption is that millennials want the cheapest insurance policy possible because they’re lagging behind financially compared to previous generations at the same age— but this isn’t true either.

Millennials actually rated price as less important than baby boomers and Generation X did. A majority of millennials rated comprehensive coverage as their highest priority when it comes to insurance — with less than a third (31%) rating price as the most important factor.

However, they’re not interested in life insurance at all — according to one recent study, only around 10% of millennials carry enough life insurance to cover 100% of their needs.

When millennials buy a home, they want a comprehensive home insurance policy, and they want to buy it from an experienced, knowledgeable insurance agent — preferences that are, reassuringly, more or less identical to the preferences of older generations.

A Home That Includes a Garage

A 2019 study by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found that millennials really hate street parking, and a striking 82% of them want a garage in their home.

Interestingly, several studies, including a survey by research agency YPulse and a paper by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management, found that fewer than 82% of millennials actually own a car, suggesting they’re after extra space, not necessarily parking.

A Single-Family Detached Home

Millennials want a traditional fully detached single-family house with a patio and yard, according to the NAHB study. Although it’s normal for every generation to shift to suburban living arrangements as they get engaged, get married, and start a family, the pandemic has accelerated this trend.

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Millennials are preparing to spend a lot more time at home than they did before the pandemic. 

This preference could be a factor in millennials’ late entry into the housing market, as research by the Urban Institute has shown that millennials prefer to live in dense cities, where homes are especially expensive.

An Open Floor Plan

Another interesting insight from the NAHB study is that millennials prefer an open floor plan more than other generations. They want little or no separation between their kitchen, family room, and dining room.

This preference is likely because of a need for flexible space that can adapt to multiple uses as millennials prepare to juggle remote careers and children.

Two-Story Home

One notable divergence from other generations is that millennials prefer multistory homes. A majority of every other generation prefers single-story homes.

However, NAHB research on housing preferences shows only 35% of millennials want to live in a one-story home, compared to 55% of millennials who want a two-story home.

A Location With Great Amenities

It’s a cliche that location is one of the highest priorities for home buyers, but for millennials, it really matters. Millennials don’t view their home as an island. The NAHB study found that they want specific features in their neighborhood.

As millennials start young families, amenities such as parks, community gardens, bike lanes, and jogging trails are very important to them. So are pet-friendly features such as dog parks. 

A Home Office

Many jobs plan to stay fully remote, even as COVID-19 recedes. Some cities are great for remote workers, but for millennials who live in rural areas away from coworking facilities, space for a home office is a necessity.

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An Exercise Room

Millennials are a very health-conscious generation and have even been called the “wellness generation.” As a result, 61% of millennials expressed interest in having a designated workout room in their house, according to the NAHB report. 

Of course, millennials are on the leading edge of a trend that cuts across all generations. In 2003, only 27% of overall buyers were interested in a home exercise room. Since the pandemic, that number has nearly doubled to 47%.

Home Tech Features

Millennials value dependable, high-speed internet not only for recreational use but to support their work-from-home careers. Logging on to Zoom and Slack is a necessity for many millennial workers, and any home they buy will have to support that.

Millennials want a great internet provider because they are early adaptors of smart-home technology, as evidenced in a 2020 NAHB study. Many millennials are “digital natives,” and they expect to control their homes through their smartphones.

Camera-enabled doorbells, smart thermostats, smart locks, integrated smart light switches, smart garage door openers, and smart security systems are highly desirable to millennial buyers.

Ample Outdoor Space

Millennials want a big yard for themselves, their children, and their pets.

A large percentage of millennials said their dog’s comfort would be a major factor in any home they purchased, according to a 2017 study from SunTrust Mortgage, and having a fenced-in yard would increase the quality of life for pets and kids. This desire for outdoor space is one of the main factors driving millennial migration to the suburbs.