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Gen Z Homebuyers Want Sustainable Builds, Smart Features

Last year was notable because of the running litany of interest rate increase, now the largest string of rate hakes on record, offsetting record low interest rates seen in 2021-2022. However, as a confluence of economic events occurred in the first quarter of 2023, it seems that homebuyers and sellers are rethinking entering their real estate goals. 

This information comes by way of a new study commissioned by RE/MAX and completed by Canvas8, a consumer insights agency. The research, which included a survey of more than 2,900 American homebuyers or sellers, along with expert interviews with real estate researchers and economists, identified six key themes exploring how people's attitudes and values toward buying, owning, and selling homes are shifting. 

The six key themes identified in the report as main trends and mindsets impacting homebuying and selling in 2023 are: 

  • Information Overload: People want help making better sense of the homebuying and selling process. 
  • Real Talk: People want real estate agents to offer more human-centered support. 
  • Modern Adaptability: People are making compromises in search of stability. 
  • Future-Proofed Properties: People are looking for self-sustaining, resilient homes. 
  • New Hubs: People are looking for areas that offer them the opportunity to connect with a community. 
  • Curated Control: People want spaces they can optimize for work and play. 

"The events of the past few years have made homebuyers more deliberate about what a home should offer them," said Nick Bailey, RE/MAX President and CEO. "A home purchase is one of the largest transactions a person will make in their lifetime, so it's important for them to have a clear understanding about what they're seeking in a home.  Research like this can help a real estate professional guide them in their search." 

Highlights from each of the six themes identified in the report include the following, as highlighted by RE/MAX, include: 

  • Forty-six percent of sellers cite more support in understanding the process as one of the two most important areas of need, compared to just 27% of buyers. 
  • Forty percent of Americans say that terminology/language is a key barrier to homeownership – that's up from 17% in 2020. 
  • Fifty-four percent of Americans think trust and familiarity have become more important factors when choosing a real estate agent in the past 12 months. 
  • Just 25% of first-time buyers reported satisfaction with their recent experience, compared to 74% of experienced buyers. 
  • Economic concerns prompted 56% of Americans to buy sooner than they expected – in 2020, 29% of Americans said they bought sooner than expected, citing reasons related to the pandemic. 
  • Fifty-two percent of Americans say real estate agents' "years of experience" have become more important in the past 12 months. 
  • More than two-thirds of U.S. homeowners (65%) who experienced a problem with their property in 2022 recognize that it could have been prevented with routine maintenance and/or inspections. 
  • Gen Z buyers are more interested in smart features (78%), new builds (77%), and sustainable materials (81%) than older cohorts. 
  • Vibrant local communities are an important factor for younger generations, with 77% of Gen Z saying they consider this when looking to purchase a home. 
  • Sixty-four percent of U.S. buyers say renovation potential is an important factor when looking for a home to buy, compared to 45% in 2020. 

Click here to view the report in its entirety. 


About Author: Kyle G. Horst

Kyle Horst
Kyle G. Horst is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of the University of Texas at Tyler, he has worked for a number of daily, weekly, and monthly publications in South Dakota and Texas. With more than 10 years of experience in community journalism, he has won a number of state, national, and international awards for his writing and photography. He most recently worked as editor of Community Impact Newspaper covering a number of Dallas-Ft. Worth communities on a hyperlocal level. Contact Kyle G. at [email protected].

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