A park area is the top community feature wanted by Millennial home buyers (71 percent), according to an NAHB report, What Home Buyers Really Want (2019 edition) (Figure 1, hover over bars for total shares). The report is based on a survey asking prospective and recent home buyers about the features they want in a home or community. As part of the survey, respondents were asked to rate 175 home and community-related features on a four-tier scale of essential/must have, desirable, indifferent, and do not want. Breaking down the 71 percent of Millennials who want a park area shows that 24 percent consider it an essential/must have feature and 47 percent say it’s desirable.
Analyzing the top ten community features wanted by Millennials in Figure 1 reveals some patterns, one being that Millennials care about outdoor activity spaces. For example, the second most-wanted feature is walking/jogging trails. Sixty-eight percent of Millennials want this (21 percent say it’s an essential/must have feature and 47 percent say it’s desirable). The theme of outdoor activity spaces pops up again with playgrounds and swimming pools, wanted by 65 and 63 percent of Millennials, respectively.
Another theme that emerges in the top ten is accessibility. For example, 66 percent of Millennials want to be located ‘near retail space (grocery, drug stores, etc.)’, the third most-wanted feature on the list; 64 percent want a ‘walkable community (with walkways connecting homes, shopping, public spaces and transportation)’, and 54 percent want access to public transportation.
Rounding out the top ten community features wanted by Millennials includes a community that is ‘typically suburban (all-single-family detaches houses)’ (60 percent want this), an outdoor maintenance service (52 percent want this), and a community that is ‘gated to control access’ (another 52 percent want this).
Figure 2 shows the community features with the largest percentage point difference between Millennials and Seniors (at least 30 percentage points). Sixty-five percent of Millennials want playgrounds, but the desire for it drops significantly with age: 39 percent of Gen X’ers want it, 23 percent of Boomers, and only 6 percent of Seniors, a 59 percentage point difference with Millennials. A considerable share of Millennials want a daycare center nearby (46 percent), but Seniors clearly do not, with only 1 percent reporting that they want one.
Sizable shares of Millennials want baseball or soccer fields (46 percent), ‘other mixed use (homes near office or other commercial buildings’ (42 percent), and bikeshare/carshare services (41 percent), but the popularity of these features falls substantially with age to 7, 12, and 10 percent of Seniors, respectively.
Figure 3 shows the top ten not wanted community features among Millennials. Although in the minority, a considerable share of Millennials — 45 percent — do not want to live in a high density community, defined as a community with smaller lots and attached or multifamily buildings. As seen in the most-wanted community features list (Figure 1), Millennials are interested in outdoor activity spaces, however a large share of them — 37 percent — reject living in a community with tennis courts. Thirty percent of Millennials each do not want clubhouses and golf courses, and 28 percent do not want organized social activities. Twenty-two percent or less of Millennials do not want the following community features: an exercise room (22 percent), a daycare center (21 percent), an electric vehicle charging station (21 percent), other mixed use (home near office or other commercial buildings) (21 percent), and bikeshare/carshare services (20 percent).
Examining the community features Millennials want shows that outdoor activity spaces, walkability, and accessibility to retail spaces are important to this demographic. It also shows that some community features wanted by Millennials are not as popular among older generations, particularly features related to family supports, such as playgrounds and daycare centers. It is also important to note that a considerable share of Millennials do not want to live in high density communities.
For additional information, an August 2019 NAHB study showed the history of Millennials’ preferences for select housing characteristics. The greatest level of detail—including preferences for hundreds of items broken down by generation, by geography, first-time vs. repeat buyer, household composition, race, income, and price expected to pay for the home—is available in the 2019 edition of What Home Buyers Really Want.