How the Young Want to Live

We saw it coming. Long before the distinct millennial perspective arrived in the Atlanta real estate market and began to influence Atlanta new construction, the preferences of this generation were taking shape in clothing and cuisine, art and entertainment. The generation that now ignites the market for Atlanta condos gave us signals of what they value, what they consider priorities, by the choices they made in those marketplaces where they arrived before they decided to become homeowners.

How they dress, for example – and, to a great extent, how we all dress now – demonstrates a certain impatience with anything ornamental or theatrical. In prior generations, certain signals were sent through clothing and accessories. Who is an executive or who is a craftsman? Who is a professional or who is an artist? It was there in a person’s attire, as if people were costuming themselves for a play of their own authorship. There was nothing consciously exaggerated about it, but the way people dressed told you a lot about their career, their role, and their aims in life. And, like it or not, clothing was taken, too, as a signal of status.

Today, we see all around us the impact of millennials’ break with that past. From how people dress, it is increasingly difficult to tell a data analyst from a dentist, an entrepreneur from an entertainer. The pendulum swung from the padded shoulders, the pastels, and the elaborate silhouettes of the 1980s to a drastic simplification. From the J. Crew catalogue for summer, 1990, and extending virtually without interruption to this day, we can see the prevailing style devolve to things you might wear in a touch-football game. (The re-emergence of the suit for professional wear is welcome, but essentially a counterpoint rather than the main channel of today’s style.)

When These Tastes Arrived in Real Estate

Functionality, authenticity, unpretentious confidence – these are the lessons, the elements of style, that shape the present and future of real estate now, thanks to the influence of millennials arriving in the home-buying marketplace. It is the experience of everyday life that clearly is the priority, not entertaining formally, or making a statement through demonstration.

A tech-friendly home is a high priority. Some years ago, we might have said “wired.” The availability of high-speed data plays a leading role in millennials’ deciding which city and which neighborhood they want. At the same time, they are less likely than prior generations to consider the ownership of any home to be permanent. Just as they expect to change jobs in the building of their careers, or even to change careers, they expect to be in the market for real estate more than once as their lives go on.

Atlanta’s talent for creating, and commitment to sustaining, live-work-play neighborhoods, whether restored or newly constructed, is in harmony with millennials’ preferences, too. Walking and biking through life as much as possible is a priority, and among the first things they ask when considering where to live.

As the leader in the sale of Atlanta real estate and new construction, Engel & Völkers has been actively engaged in the impact millennials have on real estate, value, and growth. To explore what this could mean for your investment or living plans, just call us at 404-845-7724 or find out more at