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What’s In My House?: Baby Boomers VS. Millennials

Posted on May 25, 2016 by Miller and Smith Blog Team

With clashing workplace styles, differences in ideals, or a “battle royal” regarding taxpayer dollars – the media-fueled “generation war” between millennials and baby boomers has recently peaked with millennials (ages 18-34), who now number 75.4 million, having surpassed baby boomers in population with 74.9 million, according to Pew Research.

While many look to dissect the differences between the two hotly debated demographics— we’d argue these two often meet in the middle on what they want in their next living space. Here’s where millennials and boomers are similar in their housing preferences and what it means for homebuilders:



Boomers and millennials are both looking for easy access to entertainment and shopping; but while boomers stick to the suburbs, millennials seek out these options in a more urban locale. Conversely, studies show millennials will often rent in urban areas, but are inclined to branch out into nearby suburbs when ready to buy.

Diversity of environment is also important to both groups. According to an Urban Land Institute study, 62% of millennial respondents said they favored mixed-use developments with a diverse population. Meanwhile, only 35% of baby boomers prefer an age qualified community experience, which may indicate that age is no longer a dominant factor in their lifestyle.

Space | Indoor, Outdoor and Floorplans

A recent Trulia survey found that over 60% of millennials saw their ideal residence as larger than where they currently lived, and 80% of baby boomers preferred an ideal living place to be at least the same size or larger than their current residence.

Access to green space (though not necessarily owning it) is also a must have for both generations. Millennials, in particular, are willing to share community gardens and greenery. Following in the same vein, both groups desire amenities that add ease to owning a pet, such as parks for dog walking.

These two generations also tend to have similar tastes when it comes to the home interior. Floorplans offering variety and openness are a popular option, in part because of how the designs facilitate ease of entertaining and connectivity with loved ones.


Affordability has become a dealmaker and breaker for our two largest consumer groups. Many millennials face the harsh reality of student loan debt, which forces tight budgets and the inability to save for a down payment. Similarly, baby boomers are not immune to debt either—the average 65-year-old borrower today, is saddled with 47% more debt than 65-year-olds were in 2003.

As a result, both groups seek out payment plans that are flexible enough to work with their unique situations. Both tend to prefer housing situations and builders that offer convenience, flexibility and control, for example, a la carte options, instead of rigid bundle deals.