First-time home buyers are getting ready to flood the housing market. In the next 10 years, almost 45 million1 U.S. residents will reach the average age for first-time home buyers. That’s 3.1 million more than the past decade, according to Zillow2. First-time buyers represented 33%3 of all home purchasers in 2018, and that is expected to grow.
Millennial first-time buyers, who represent the current average age for first-time buyers, are most likely to want new homes4. However, finding the perfect new home is harder than ever for first-time buyers. In fact, 42%5 of prospective first-time buyers haven’t purchased yet because they’re having trouble finding a good house in their budget range and 41%6 have not found a house that meets their needs. Generally, they’re not interested7 in home features such as outdoor fireplaces, breakfast nooks, separate bathroom vanities, smart home technology and elaborate front doors.
So what are first-time home buyers looking for?
Here’s what to keep in mind when building and designing affordable, yet attractive homes that meet the needs of today’s first-time buyers:
Keep layouts open
Today’s first-time buyers care less about size and more about flexibility, gravitating toward open floor plans8 that allow for increased functionality. With flexible, open layouts, there’s better traffic flow and communication is easier. A kitchen that’s not cut off from the dining room allows homeowners to cook while still taking part in conversations and keeping an eye on guests or family.
Design flexibility also allows for personalization, which is extremely attractive to single home buyers — a huge up-and-coming group of buyers. Single-person households are predicted to outgrow all other household sizes in the next 15 years, with more than 40 million9 single households by 2030. Single buyers want their home to be able to grow and change along with them, and flexible layouts allow for that.
Mix budget-friendly with durable
Inexpensive, yet durable materials appeal to buyers looking for an affordable home. Low-maintenance materials including stone, wood, brick and concrete are all long-lasting without a high price tag. Hardwood floors10, especially, are among the most popular materials for first-time buyers and buyers in general, with about 83%11 wanting this feature in their homes. Hardwood is a more durable option than carpet and offers a clean, polished look.
Include lots of storage
One of the most attractive home features for any generation of first-time home buyers is plenty of storage space12. Built-in cabinets and open shelving help homeowners stay organized, while garage storage solutions and walk-in pantries are some of the most popular13 solutions among buyers for keeping clutter at bay.
Opt for a neutral color palette
White kitchens are timeless, and according to the Home Appliance Manufacturers Association, white appliances have outsold14 all other colors. Plus, most buyers actually prefer softer, neutral hues15. Layer shades of white into the space to create dimension with some off-white cabinets and stark white appliances. For example, the Whirlpool® white 28-inch Wide Refrigerator Compatible With The EZ Connect Icemaker Kit offers plenty of storage space while providing a sleek look and high performance, while this beautifully white Whirlpool® 4.8 Cu. Ft. Freestanding Electric Range with FlexHeat™ Dual Radiant Element has the flexibility to cook multiple dishes and fits seamlessly into the kitchen.