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Gen Y’s – what they want when it comes to real estate

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Melbourne’s inner-city areas will see a big increase in new apartments in 2016, with Gen Y first-time buyers set to be spoiled by choice – and competitive pricing.

Studies show that the generation born between 1982 and 1995 is not as wowed by luxury as their parents and are more likely to demand technology and flexible space.

Many young Australians also want to live in urban environments, crave walkability and will make trade-offs in their home size in order to be close to work and lifestyle attractions.

Surveys of adults aged 18-34 show that efficient use of space is an important feature to 84 per cent of Gen Y property buyers. More than two-thirds want an open layout for entertaining. Most want ample storage and 63 per cent want outdoor space to extend living areas.

Nielsen recently conducted a broad survey of Australians aged 18+, which provided some interesting insights into Gen Ys regarding real estate – from what they want in a property to what they don’t want.

Proximity is critical. According to the survey, the three most important factors for Gen Ys or “millennials” in choosing a property are: being close to family (44 per cent); being close to work (43 per cent); and being close to friends (24 per cent)

By contrast, low maintenance costs and being close to health services were far less important.

Simplicity counts, too. Millennials are looking for modern, clean and simple design styles such as hardwood floors and open plan living.

Nelson Alexander is marketing several apartment projects that cater strongly to Gen Y preferences. They include Peel at 47 Peel Street, Collingwood, an apartment building designed by Melbourne architects, DKO, which both complements and contributes to the urban fabric.

Peel recently commenced construction and will have a white-brick facade and metal-hooded windows. With a focus on making the best use of space, the building has been oriented to the north to provide this aspect to the apartments. Inside, Collingwood’s DesignOffice has crafted clean, simple interiors.

In Brunswick, Nelson Alexander is marketing a boutique selection of one – and two- bedroom apartments in a new building called Upper Brunswick, which is due to be completed by June.

Upper Brunswick is situated at 93-95 Holmes Street, Brunswick, with easy access to the city and the lifestyle attractions on Sydney Road and Lygon Street. The apartments feature high-end fixtures and fittings, flexible and spacious floor plans and large terraces.

Apartments are more popular than ever before. The 2011 census showed they account for 14 per cent of Australian dwellings, up from 11 per cent in 2006.

They’re becoming a lot more affordable, too.

This is largely because apartments in new developments are getting smaller. There’s a major trend towards higher quality fixtures and fittings too, adding substantial value for money compared to a decade ago.

Similar trends are occurring in other developed countries.

A recent online survey of 1000 adults aged 18 to 35 by the US edition of Better Homes and Gardens found that millennials are not keen on traditional floor plans or traditional rooms.

They want their homes to be as unique as they are and each room to represent aspects of their lives, from hobbies to computer gaming, the survey says.

One in five say “home office” is a more appropriate name for their dining room, and 43 per cent want to turn their living room into a home theatre.

The survey shows they would rather have extra space in their kitchen for a TV than a second oven, and that technology features are more important than street appeal. Almost two-thirds say they would not buy a residential property without up-to-date tech capabilities.

Gen Y buyers eyeing the apartment market could be in the box seat in coming months.

New apartment sales dropped 15.1 per cent nationally in November 2015 with slowing population growth, bank regulator controls and an increase in variable mortgage costs contributing to the decline, a new report shows.

New home sales dropped 2.7 per cent in November, driven largely by double-digit drops in ‘multi-unit’ sales, according to the Housing Industry Association’s new home sales report, released in January.

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