A new survey from Coldwell Banker has found that, despite much-touted differences between Americans in different generations, real estate buyers tend to want the same things, regardless of how old they are.
The survey, which was released Tuesday, found that among other things owning a home is important to 91 percent of baby boomers and members of generation X, as well as 92 percent of millennials. All three generations were also similarly aligned when it came to prioritizing location: 79 percent of baby boomers and gen Xers, and 81 percent of millennials, all said a home’s location was more important than its size.
Other issues on which all three generations were more or less on the same page include safety and a desire to live close to family.
On the other hand, 54 percent of millennials said they want to live close to nightlife venues, while only 46 percent of generation Xers and 34 percent of baby boomers said the same thing. Somewhat surprisingly, millennials were also more interested in white picket fences than baby boomers, but less committed to hardwood flooring verses carpet, according to the survey.
The survey additionally found that 58 percent of baby boomers said that the top reason they used a real estate agent was to have a trusted advisor. Forty-five percent of generation Xers and 47 percent of millennials felt the same way.
Ryan Gorman, president and CEO of Coldwell Banker, told Inman that the results show how “the things that are most important to people tend to transcend generations.”
Gorman also said that while he was expecting real estate consumers of different ages to be generally interested in similar things, he was also surprised at the “incredible consistency” the survey found between different generations.
Coldwell Banker’s survey was released just days after a the National Association of Realtors released its own survey results showing that millennials buying preferences are also very similar to those of their grandparents, who tend to be members of the silent generation.
The findings of both surveys are curious given that there has been years of reporting on how, unlike previous generations, millennials are returning to cities and prefer to spend their money on experiences rather than things.
Gorman, however, said that the findings of the Coldwell Banker survey don’t necessarily contradict the idea of that older thesis. Instead, millennials appear to value the same things, but have faced challenges such as growing commute times. And that trend has pushed them to seek the same amenities — proximity to work, for example — in urban areas that other generations might have had in the suburbs.
At the same time, homebuyers today have less supply and face affordability issues, which forces “hard tradeoff decisions,” Gorman explained.
Coldwell Banker’s survey defined baby boomers as people currently between the ages of 56 and 74, generation Xers as between 40 and 55, and millennials as between 24 and 39. The Harris Poll conducted the survey on behalf of Coldwell Banker, and collected online responses from 2,002 Americans in early February.
The newly released survey was also conducted to coincide with Coldwell Banker’s new “Guiding You Home” spring advertising campaign.
The company is kicking off the campaign with a new video ad, and Gorman told Inman that the campaign represents the first time the company is promoting its rebranding efforts — which was first announced last year — directly to consumers.