Gen Z Must Haves may be more simple than you would expect. This is not the avocado toast generation. Instead, the oldest came of age during the Great Recession in the late 2000s, and many saw their families struggle. And as these younger folks are just getting started professionally, they typically earn less than their millennial and Gen X peers.

Many Gen Z’ers Find This Market Difficult

Roughly two-thirds of Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2012, believe that homeownership is still within reach, despite facing challenges posed by high home prices and mortgage rates, according to a recent survey by®. However, breaking into the housing market is proving to be difficult for these budget-conscious and convenience-focused buyers, with the oldest among them turning 27 this year.

While approximately 18% of Generation Z individuals are already homeowners, according to John Burns Research & Consulting, the majority are not, with nearly half still residing with family. Chris Porter, chief demographer at John Burns, explains that at their core, Generation Z aspires to homeownership, but this milestone is likely to occur later due to the significant challenge of housing affordability.

Gen Z Must Haves Do Not Include Large Homes for Now

Given the exorbitant cost of homeownership, Gen Z’ers are adopting a pragmatic approach by seeking cost-saving measures wherever possible. This practical mindset may explain why owning a large home is not as high a priority for this generation compared to others.

Rather than single-family homes, Generation Z is more open to options like apartments, condos, or townhouses, which are more affordable and easier to maintain. Many are willing to sacrifice features like garages and expansive kitchens in favor of owning their own space, says demographer Porter. They prioritize functional and multipurpose living spaces where every square foot is utilized efficiently.  A couple I recently helped buy their first condo envisioned a “home office” in a nook of the living room rather than requiring a second bedroom to use as a home office.  They saw their first home as a future investment property and were content to buy smaller than they might be able to afford.

While every home buyer has to make some compromises in the buying process, it seems like Gen Z is making compromises – or sensible decisions – before they start the search!

One of the Biggest Gen Z Must Haves – High Speed Internet

For Generation Z, their homes often serve as places of work, at least part of the time – particularly after COVID when so many people began to work remotely. Consequently, they are on the lookout for properties with dedicated home offices or quiet spaces suitable for remote work, underscoring the importance of reliable high-speed internet access.

Another of the Gen Z Must Haves – Laundry

Despite their flexibility in housing choices, there are certain amenities which rank as Gen Z  must haves and on which they refuse to compromise. According to the John Burns survey, approximately four-fifths of Generation Z individuals insist on having a washer and dryer or central air conditioning, while 61% prioritize having a dishwasher, and half require private outdoor spaces. During COVID in particular, I saw many condos with communal washers and dryers that did not make the Gen Z must haves list.  I frequently heard young professionals say that they hadn’t used a shared washer and dryer since college and they weren’t going back to that again.

If you are thinking of selling your home now, please do the maintenance work that needs to be done before you put the home on the market. Generation Z is forward-thinking about potential maintenance costs, such as roof and HVAC replacements, recognizing the importance of avoiding unexpected financial burdens after purchasing a home.  In addition, with housing prices and interest rates both being so high, first time home buyers just don’t have the extra cash to take on immediate repairs.

Gen Z’ers are Considering Homes Outside Major Urban Areas

Unlike prior generations, Generation Z is less drawn to expensive urban centers due to the increasing prevalence of remote and hybrid work. This shift has allowed many to pursue homeownership in more affordable, smaller cities and different regions of the country.

Porter notes that remote work has expanded the geographic options available to Generation Z, who prioritize attainability and affordability in their housing choices. While they seek proximity to communal spaces where they can socialize, they also value access to unique experiences outside the digital realm, such as visiting breweries or upscale bowling alleys over the weekends.

If You Want to Know More about the Gen Z Must Haves

If you want to know more about what the Gen Z must haves – and how to make your home appealing to them before you list, let’s talk!  I work with lots of first time home buyers – and move up buyers – and I am glad to talk to you about what’s hot for them – and what’s not.   Frequently, it’s a question of what you highlight or some small adjustments rather than a big renovation.  Let’s talk!

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