Generation Y makes big impact on new-home market

Changing preferences to reshape how homes are built

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If you think the baby boomer group was immense and steered the housing market plus every element of the retail industry, get ready for throng that contains many of their consumer-crazy children – the proud members of Generation Y. These youngsters, born in 1979 or later, will have 74 million members (an estimated 3 million more than the boomers) and make up 34 percent of the population by 2015. Their homes will be preferred for their utility, not prestige, and they will be willing to trade size and curb appeal for lifestyle and convenience factors. According to Alex Bond, 26, who performed a Gen Y preference study for the Urban Land Institute, consumers his age will see the benefits of a forced savings plan and buy as soon as they can – even if it means owning for a short period of time – and seek city shopping and nightlife. They will have no problem carrying debt, especially for tech toys and other "must have" items, because they feel their rising salaries will ev...