Survey: Millennials Don't Want McMansions

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- What do young homeowners want in a new house?

More or less, they want to get their hands dirty.

That's the conclusion of a study by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate that says America's 18- to 35-year-olds don't want any part of the luxury homes ("McMansions" in real estate parlance) their parents coveted.

Instead, they want efficient, purposeful homes, and they aren't above paying less for a unique fixer-upper they can spend weekends sprucing up.

In addition, younger homeowners disdain the conventional wisdom that says they want to lean on their parents for money to buy and maintain a home. The survey says 82% of millennials want "independence" in choosing and fixing up a home and want to handle chores and repairs on their own, not turn to mom and dad for help.

"The quintessential home for the millennial generation vastly differs from the traditional norms of generations before them," says Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.

Some other takeaways from the survey:

  • 30% of Millennials want a fixer-upper house over a home that needs only minimal repairs - as long as they get a deal on the price.
  • 47% of young homeowners would try to fix a home maintenance problem rather than pay a professional.
  • 72% of millennials say they are "as handy or more handy" with household maintenance than their parents.
  • 43% do not want a "cookie-cutter" home. They want a unique home they can put their personal stamp on.
  • 20% have turned their dining rooms into a home office (that's part of the push for "efficiency" referred to in the study.)
  • 43% of millennial homeowners want to turn their living room into a plush home theater (that's part of the "technology" emphasis referred to in the study.)

The technology angle is a big one for younger homeowners; 64% of millennials would avoid buying a home that is "not up to date" with the latest technology, the study says. Another 84% calls technology "absolutely essential" when buying a home. Among smart technology fixtures desired by young homeowners: energy efficient washer and dryers, so-called "smart thermostats" and home security systems. Chris adds that young homeowners want "smart" technologies "ingrained into the home itself."

Millennials also want to be entertained in every room in their homes, with 59% saying they would put a television in their kitchens.

If that doesn't sound like the homeownership experience of baby boomers, well, that's the point.

Younger homeowners are sending a message to real estate agents, home construction firms and to their parents: This isn't their parents' new house, and millennials apparently wouldn't have it any other way.