Housing and Home Renovation Trends to Know: Millennials vs. Baby Boomers


Knowing the latest housing and home renovation trends, especially the differences across generational groups, can give field service professionals an edge when they’re thinking about their service offering, marketing and business strategies. Whether you’re targeted millennial homeowners, baby boomer homeowners or both, we’ve pulled the latest trends for each, from what they want to renovate this year to what spaces they prefer, so you can get pulse on the market and leverage it to your advantage. Divider

Baby Boomers Staying Put and Renovating Instead

According to a new survey released by Chase and Pulsenomics, more than half of baby boomers plan to age in place. They’re choosing to renovate their home in order to meet their changing needs rather than selling it. Another reason why baby boomers are staying put is because they are delaying downsizing until later in life. Trulia found that baby boomers are working longer and that their kids are living with them more often compared with seniors a decade ago, giving them more reason not to move. 

The survey also found that 88% plan to make improvements to their home and according to Chief Marketing Officer for Chase Home Lending, Amy Bonitatibus, “more than half of homeowners are saying they intend to start remodeling within a year.” And when they are ready, baby boomers will seek out home improvement and home service professionals.  According to HomeAdvisor’s 2018 True Cost Survey, baby boomer outspent all other generations in home improvement projects by 32%. 


Millennials Buying Resale Homes and Lean Toward DIY Home Improvement

Millennials now make up more than a third of home buyers. According to Networx.com, millennials tend to buy resale homes and then take on home improvement and remodeling themselves. According to HomeAdvisor’s 2018 True Cost Survey, millennials are more likely than any other generation to remodel any part of their home. They’re twice as likely as baby boomers to complete bathroom and kitchen remodeling projects in fact, and they’re getting coined the “renovation generation.”  

According to HomeAdvisor’s Chief Economist, Brad Hunter, “Most millennials have had to compromise on the size and condition of their starter homes, with many purchasing older homes in need of repair just to be able to afford homeownership.” And while some want to move to a better home, “the lack of homes for sale is keeping them where they are, and so they’re making improvements to beautify and personalize their space.”

More than half of the millennials in HomeAdvisor’s survey say they plan to spend more in home improvement than they did last year, however they are also more cost-conscious than baby boomers. In 2018, millennial renovators spent around $5,693 on average, while their baby boomer counterparts spent $7,523 on average. When millennials do hire pros, it tends to be landscaping pros, outdoor play equipment installers and pros who can construction built-in furniture.

Now when it comes to what home improvements each generation is looking for, baby boomers are adding touches of luxury and convenience, like remodeling their kitchen, while millennials are focused on make their homes more efficient, while improving the aesthetics and infrastructure. Millennials favor open floor plans, functionality and simple, minimalistic designs. They’re also the most sustainability-focused generation, so they look for reasonable energy use, efficiency and natural and green materials. Baby boomers are similar in that they’re also looking for open-concept floor plans to be able to entertain, as well as accommodate their aging-related needs, which we get into below. 


Bathroom and Kitchen Remodels Top The List for Majority of Homeowners

According to HomeAdvisor’s 2018 True Cost Survey, bathroom remodels continue to be more popular than kitchen remodels. Almost 25% of homeowners say they’re planning for a bathroom remodel in the next 12 months, compared to 15% of homeowners planning for a kitchen remodel.

When it comes to improving their bathrooms, homeowners look to add creative and luxury updates, from new lighting, flooring, cabinets, shower doors/enclosures and tile to multiple shower heads and built-in audio speakers. Baby boomers are especially excited about bathroom remodel projects. According to HomeAdvisor’s Survey, they plan to spend 51% more on bathroom remodels this year than millennials.

Kitchen remodels are still widely popular though. In fact, median spend on kitchen remodels has increased 10% year over year,  according to the 2018 Houzz and Home Survey, which also found kitchens to be the most popular room for homeowners to renovate. For baby boomers interested in kitchen renovations, their focus is on making the room more accessible, according to Kukun, a home renovation marketplace online. “They may seek to widen doors, make the kitchen space larger so that it’s easy to enter in a wheelchair, [or] request anti-slip flooring for added safety.” 

Baby boomers also have the same approach to bathroom renovations; to increase accessibility and safety as they approach their retirement years. They look to features like showers with a shower seat, a low or no shower curb, grab bars or removing tubs altogether.  What you may have not considered is that millennials are also considering aging-related needs when they’re remodeling or renovating, as they think about their parents staying with them.


Baby Boomers Focused on Exterior Improvements and More Expensive Materials

The 2018 Houzz and Home Survey found that along with bathroom remodels, baby boomers are looking to improving their outdoor areas and choosing to invest in more expensive products or materials.

According to Kukun, the home renovation marketplace, “as baby boomers age, low-maintenance landscaping options become preferable.” These include creative outdoor living areas with a stone base or artificial grass in their yards. Baby boomers also look to deck and patio renovations as they look forward to retirement.

As far as materials go, homeowners seem to gravitate toward mixing metals for their fixtures and hardware, opting for matte nickel and polished chrome, according to the 2018 U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study. Gray cabinets and gray color palettes continue to be popular as well.


Millennials Gravitate Toward Closet Makeovers, Farmhouse Style, Trendy Landscaping

What projects are young homeowners looking to improve? According to a new report from Chase and Pinterest, many projects involve walk-in closets and closet overhauls, farmhouse decor (think Joanne Gaines’ style)  or improving curb appeal. Over the last year, Pinterest searches have jumped 700% for farmhouse decor and 200% for landscaping, like the trendy succulents and hanging plants. Meanwhile Pinterest searches for walk-in closets and closet overhauls have jumped 7000% since 2017.  

The new report also highlighted, “The data shows that those homeowners looking to remodel are regularly searching Pinterest for creative inspiration”, which could point to an opportunity for field service pros to either be on Pinterest if they aren’t already or provide remodel inspirations on their website or blog if it makes sense. 


Wrap Up

While baby boomers and millennial have varying spending habits and preferences when it comes to home renovations and hiring service pros, they also have similarities, like wanting open and functional spaces. Now that you have these insights above, will you be changing your approach marketing or servicing your millennial or baby boomer customers? Does it have you thinking about new opportunities for your company? We’d love to hear your thoughts below!


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Last modified: March 18, 2019

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