The U.S. housing industry is being pulled in two directions. Baby boomers with big housing bucks to spend still rank at the top of many builders’ customer lists. But rising sales to millions of millennials have sent builders scrambling to tailor houses for the next generation of buyers.
“Millennials are really coming into the market in significant numbers,” Dan DiClerico of Consumer Reports told homebuilders from around the nation meeting last month in Las Vegas. “Millennials have become the top homebuying demographic in the country. “That’s despite the fact many of them are saddled with enormous student debt and soaring apartment rents.” DiClerico told builders at the National Association of Home Builders’ annual conference that millennial buyers now account for 36 percent of U.S. home purchases, compared with 34 percent of homes going to baby boomers. While younger Americans say they have a preference for urban neighborhoods, 44 percent of them are buying in the ‘burbs, according to new surveys. “It was a landslide in favor of the suburbs,” DiClerico said. “I was a little surprised by this.”