What Gen Zers Really Want When Buying a House

Jessica Bennett

The newest generation of homebuyers is looking for something a little different. While others might prioritize amenities like curb appeal or extra bedrooms, Generation Z has unique preferences top of mind when shopping for a new home. That’s according to a survey of more than 1,300 Gen Zers conducted by real estate company Homes.com.

The study asked members of Generation Z, usually defined as those born between 1997 and 2012, about the features and home types they’re looking for in their future dwellings. Topping the priority list for these up-and-coming homebuyers? A diverse neighborhood.

While a previous Homes.com survey found that 58% of future Gen Z homebuyers prefer to live in racially and ethnically diverse communities, the most recent survey delved further into the concept. When asked to name the top reasons diversity plays into home buying choices, nearly half of respondents said they believe diversity is "good for America."

And while only a third of respondents said they grew up in a diverse neighborhood, 48% of Gen Zers said they live in one now, reflecting a trend that could continue to grow as these 18- to 24-year-olds enter the real estate market. "Both of our surveys indicate that Gen Zers will take full advantage of these opportunities and continue to change the complexion of U.S. neighborhoods, given that they are the largest generation in history to soon become homeowners," said David Mele, president of Homes.com, in a press release.

The survey also revealed Gen Z's preference for single-family homes over townhomes or condominiums, which Homes.com notes is unusual for young, first-time homebuyers. The newest group of house-hunters also has a penchant for outdoor entertaining spaces and open-concept layouts, further defying popular preferences, such as a walk-in pantry or hardwood floors. A backyard patio or deck area and rooms that flow into one another both topped respondents’ wishlists at 54% and 44%, respectively.

Additionally, Gen Zers appear to be less interested in trends toward sustainability and tech innovations than you might expect. Only 22% of respondents listed eco-friendly design as their top priority, while only 16% ranked smart home technology first.

The post-millennial generation, which includes 72 million people, is unlike previous age groups—and their house-hunting preferences prove it. Gen Z might be the newest homebuyers on the block, but they’ll be shaking up the real estate market for years to come.