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It’s Time for Builders to Start Focusing on Millennials

millennials with smartphonesDogging millennials seems to be a new favorite American pastime, but bashers beware: experts across the board agree that millennials are making a big difference in housing trends – and they are just starting to buy new homes.

Researchers from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Better Homes and Gardens spoke at a press conference on housing preferences for millennials, Gen X, boomers and seniors during the NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Las Vegas earlier this year, and stated that the millennial generation is poised to make a significant impact on home design with their strong preferences for energy efficiency and smart home technology; comfortable, workable kitchens and more casual spaces.

Marketing RELEVANCE’s own managing partner, Mitch Levinson, echoed those predictions during a seminar entitled, “The Great Debate: Millennials or Boomers?,” also presented during IBS. He stresses to home builders and others in the new home industry that it is time to start focusing on millennials. They are starting to buy and are the largest generation ever.

Millennials, who may currently be renting or living with their parents, are driving trends in home building. Levinson, who was quoted in the Dallas Morning News in “Cater to boomers or millennials? Homebuilders caught in between” and REALTOR Magazine, in “Builders Debate a Millennial or Boomer Focus” after his presentation, explains: Millennials are smart buyers, who are focused, and know what they want. Many millennials are saving their money until they can buy the home that they want. They do their research and are thrifty and they have high expectations in terms of quality, style and design. Functional, practical outdoor spaces and flexibility in a space are crucial for millennials.

According to NAHB, home buyers of all ages say they are looking for homes with separate laundry rooms, energy-star appliances and windows, exterior lighting and a patio. Millennials, however, are using technology to plan, monitor and improve the home building process, which is not something that boomers or Gen-Xers have done in great numbers. They read ratings and online reviews, know when a home builder is having a sale or promotion, they have Pinterest boards with their dream home features, etc. And millennials are starting to come to the home building market in numbers that builders can no longer ignore.

This type of consumer behavior is driving how builders market their homes. Builders have to be transparent and responsive, deliver information faster than ever, engage with buyers on social media and not “advertise to” millennials buyers. Millennials are a more demanding consumer than previous generations have been, and millennials are greatly shifting the focus and marketing approach for builders across the nation. As marketers, we cannot wait for shifts to occur, we have to be ahead of the shift: are you falling behind or keeping up? If the answer isn’t the one you’d like it to be, contact Marketing RELEVANCE today to learn how you can get your marketing for millennials on track.