Millennials are the largest demographic group behind the baby boomers, and a growing number of national and regional home builders are—or soon will be—courting them with technology upgrades and multigenerational spaces as many of these 18 to 34 year olds prepare to buy their first house.

During an interview at PCBC in San Diego this week, Doug Bauer, CEO of Tri Pointe Homes, noted that a recent survey revealed that 84% of millennials want to buy a home. “That’s good for us,” he said.

Bauer recalled that he chatted with a young couple who bought one of his firm’s products. When he asked the couple why they wanted to own a home, they said they were paying $8,000 a month for an apartment in San Francisco and with interest rates so low, homeownership was cheaper than renting.

Several home builder executives, including Bauer, said during a PCBC educational session that millennials want built-in technology, such as iPod docking stations, and home automation systems that control lights, heating and cooling, appliances, and more. "They expect technology, and they expect it to work well," Bauer said. The panelists also noted that millennials have increased interest in tech options because mortgage interest rates are so low, allowing them to afford higher-priced upgrades.

Multigenerational Trends
Meanwhile, some young adults—particularly those with families—are seeking houses that accommodate both their children and their parents. Nevertheless, Jonathan Jaffe, vice president and COO of Lennar, said they prefer the grandparents to have a suite with a separate entry but also with access to the main house.

“During the downturn, there was an increased focus on family, and I think that is going to continue,” the Lennar executive said.

Jaffe also noted that sharing payments with several family members makes homeownership attainable for young people who cannot afford to buy their own place.