Nossa Productions

The homes that sold like gangbusters during the good times—to the tune of nearly 1.4 million in 2005 alone—are not what the buyers of tomorrow say they are looking for.

That is the unsettling conclusion Builder drew from our recent “Builder/American Lives New-Home Shopper Survey” as well as interviews with buyers in the three groups—immigrants, Baby Boomers, and Millennials—that are likely to drive most of the demand within the housing industry for the foreseeable future.

This Special Report outlines the real and daunting challenges that lie ahead for home building companies that must try to accommodate several buyer segments with a tapestry of preferences that, in the past, builders might have deemed incompatible with their business models.

Immigrants, 40 million strong and counting, still see their American Dream in a big house with enough space for their extended and visiting families. Boomers approaching retirement are still inclined to downsize, but without sacrificing quality or comfort. However, their buying decisions now often reflect serious concessions to financial and health events many hadn’t anticipated or chose not to think about.

And Millennials—the generation born between the late 1970s and early 1990s—are buying earlier than their predecessors and are looking for urban (or at least higher density), affordable, well-designed, and uncluttered dwellings that complement their lifestyles.

It’s becoming clear that builders’ old, one-size-fits-all marketing and product approach won’t work on any of these buyer groups whose interests and borrowing requirements differ widely, not only from the buyers of the recent past, but also from each other.

Brave New World