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When it comes to choosing a home, many of us are looking for similar features regardless of age, according to “Housing Preferences across Generations,” a national survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

This common ground includes a median 2,020 square feet of finished area, energy efficient appliances and windows, and a traditional forward mortgage. Interestingly, a majority also deem a laundry room as essential too. But the study, which divides those looking for a home into four groups—millennials (born 1980 or later), gen X’er (born 1965-1979), baby boomers (born 1946-1964), and seniors (born 1945 or earlier), also have their differences.

Region home builders as well as the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors, sees the similarities and differences, says GNIAR CEO Peter Novak.

Renee Egnatz, property manager for the family owned Meyers Quality Homes says that seniors and boomers are typically looking for one-story ranch-style homes. And because they may want to travel or are tired of mowing the lawn and shoveling snow, those two groups often choose places offering maintenance-free living such as Dancing Waters Townhomes, a Meyers Quality Homes community in St. John.

“That age group also usually wants quality and are willing to pay for it,” says Egnatz, noting that families who still have children at home are looking for extra space and storage and tend to opt for an open-floor plan. “It’s a great concept for entertaining and also keeping an eye on the children."

Maintenance free living is important to baby boomers and seniors, agrees Stacy Sellas, controller at McFarland Homes, a family-owned company that has been in business for more than a quarter century and has built more than 1,800 homes throughout Northwest Indiana.

“Many also want new construction so they don’t have to deal with repairs, and because new homes are generally more energy efficient,” she says. “Often they want to be in a community where the neighbor next to them is similar as well.”

Sellas says all demographic groups are looking for safe and secure neighborhoods.

“Seniors and baby boomers want one level living,” says Cory Kreith, owner of CK Building and Design Corp., who has taken numerous design classes focusing on meeting the needs of the differing demographics. “Families still want space so they want two levels. Millennials and gen X’ers like compact, highly green homes, and they’re willing to take a reduced footprint to be energy efficient. But they also like lots of cutting edge technology--they often don’t have cable or satellite anymore, they live stream so they need high speed connectivity. ”

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