As Millennials infiltrate the housing market, with one survey from the Urban Land Institute indicating 70 percent of respondents expect to be homeowners by 2020, housing industry leaders need to be aware that this Millennial land rush is not the same as in years past. While a new study released by Zillow shows that 20- and 30-somethings are following the path of their parents back to the greener pastures of suburbia, they have different expectations.

It’s crucial to pay attention to their preferences, as this generation’s buying power will only increase. Millennials are expected to generate 46 percent of the U.S. household income by 2025, according to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Here are three ways in which Millennials will influence the homebuilding and remodeling market in decades to come:

1. Outdoor living space

Almost 60 percent of Millennials in a recent survey indicated an outdoor living space was a must-have in their home, according to a recent study conducted by TRI Pointe Group, Metrostudy, Hanley Wood and Ketchum Global Research & Analytics.

Outdoor amenities also scored high among Millennials in a National Association of Home Builders housing study released last March. They had a greater preference for patios, decks, and porches than any other generation surveyed.

2. Open kitchens

Millennials’ second-highest preference for a must-have in a home was open kitchens (53 percent), according to the Metrostudy report.

That’s no surprise to Whirlpool, which realizes that Millennials are acting as a catalyst for change in the appliance industry. They are leading the demand for a better experience and higher product performance, and they’re serving as a turning point for other generations to look for the same things.

This provides ample opportunity for designers to experiment with color finishes and textures. In an open environment, appliances can’t stand alone and have to fit into the overall living space. That’s why Whirlpool offers color finishes and textures, such as its Fingerprint Resistant Black Stainless Steel Kitchen Suite, that seamlessly blend with other home materials.

3. Personalization

If there’s anything we’ve learned from Millennials – whether from being around them or reading about them – is that personalization is an important factor in everything they purchase and experience. The new Whirlpool Smart Kitchen Suite features full-color touchscreen controls, for a customized experience that is both functional and simple to use. The dynamic system tracks preferences to learn family favorites – from what families cook, when they cook and how they cook to tracking water and ice habits.

In the Metrostudy survey, 71 percent said the ability for a new home to be customized was “very or somewhat important.” In addition, Gen Y homebuyers plan to spend 22 percent of their total budget on customization.

This combination of high-quality construction, low maintenance and improved flexibility in a home is a challenge builders and remodelers will face for many years to come.

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