Millennials vs. Baby Boomers: What They Want in Their Homes

Mesa Arizona home kitchen
ZillowThis Mesa, Arizona, home for sale would appeal to baby boomers looking for luxury details in a smaller footprint.

By Vera Gibbons

What are millennials looking for when it comes to housing? And what do baby boomers want? Here's a breakdown.

Millennials vs. Baby Boomers: What They Want in a Home
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Millennials vs. Baby Boomers: What They Want in Their Homes

Millennials aren't the only ones flocking to popular cities such as New York, Boston, Miami and San Francisco. Some boomers are, too. After all, they want the theater, arts, culture and fine dining! The difference is that millennials, if they're not still living with mom and dad, are moving into expensive rental units. An analysis that Zillow recently conducted for The New York Times showed that in 90 cities, the median rent is more than 30 percent of the median gross income. Meanwhile, some well-heeled boomers — eager for a lifestyle change — are buying smaller, yet more expensive homes than the ones where they raised their families in the suburbs. How's that for downsizing?

Pictured: This one-bedroom, one-bath Miami rental is currently on the market for $1,731 per month.

A nice, yet casual-looking social hub is what millennials look for. Practicality is what it's all about.  Boomers, on the other hand, really want more of a private retreat -- think vacation-like. After all, they've worked hard for it so why not enjoy the fruits of their labor? Boomers want their next, and final, home to be the best ever -- the picture of success.

Pictured: With a gourmet kitchen, pool and high-end finishes throughout, this Mesa, Arizona, home for sale would appeal to baby boomers looking for luxury details in a smaller footprint. The home is listed for $225,000.

Millennials and boomers alike both want clean, shiny and new move-in ready homes. And they both seem to value amenities over square footage. Accessibility and walkability are also important. But while millennials put speedy, reliable Internet performance (built-in docking stations and charging panels are a given) at the top of their must-have lists, boomers are more keen on luxury and flaunting niceties -- from state-of-the-art kitchens to fancy bathrooms, large walk-in closets and more.

Pictured: For baby boomers it's all about the details, with walk-in closets and other luxury amenities topping their wish lists. Design by Eddie Miles.


Vera Gibbons is a financial journalist based in New York City and is a contributor to Zillow Blog. Connect with her at

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

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