Housing Preferences across Generations (Part II)


Findings from the latest NAHB study on housing preferences, Housing Preferences of the Boomer Generation: How They Compare to Other Home Buyers, shows there are some similarities and differences in what home buyers of different generations want in terms of square footage and number of bedrooms in a new home.

When asked how much finished space they would like to have, home buyers in general reported wanting a median of 2,020 square feet, about 9% more space than they currently have (1,859 sq. ft.). Age plays a key role in desired home size, however.  Buyers in the Millennial and Gen X generations both want homes over 2,300 square feet, whereas Boomers and Seniors would like homes under 1,900 square feet.  As the figure below shows, there is a large gap between current and desired home size among the younger cohorts, while Boomers and Seniors either live in their ideal home size already or would like to downsize a bit.

Home Size

When it comes to the number of bedrooms, about half of all home buyers would like to have three in a new home, while a nontrivial 30 percent would rather have four or more. The two youngest generations have strikingly different preferences when compared to the oldest two:  whereas 48 percent of Millennials and 43 percent of Gen X’ers would like to see at least four bedrooms in a new home, that share is only 20 percent among Boomers and Seniors.  For these generations, three bedrooms is the way to go, as half or more report that as their first preference.


This blog post is the second in a series exploring findings from Housing Preferences of the Boomer Generation: How They Compare to Other Home Buyers, the first of which can be found here. A more complete article on the findings is also available here.

Note: This study was sponsored by Reverse Mortgage Funding (RMF) and Beazer Homes.


1 reply

  1. I wonder if the recent rise in sites like AirBnB have anything to do with younger generations wanting more rooms. When you consider that many millennials have delayed starting a family, the increase in preferred home size is kind of odd.

    Think those extra rooms are to generate income? And then down the road they can be used to house a growing family?

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