Builders' Show Session: Changing Population TrendsSingle women, baby boomers, growing Hispanic population among those groups shifting design and product demands.

  • By Jean Dimeo

Las Vegas, Jan. 20 -- There are a number of population trends that home building pros need to stay abreast of in order to convert potential buyers to customers, according to three design experts presenting.

Women make up to 90 percent of the home's purchasing decisions, but how they live and what they want are changing dramatically, said Connie Edwards, director of design for Timberlake Cabinetry, during the educational session "Kitchen Power: The How and Wow of Great Kitchens" at the International Builders' Show.

"Women are putting off marriage, getting divorced more, and they want to own homes of their own," she said. A certified kitchen and bath designer, Edwards added these single women with no children expect bathrooms that look like hotel abodes, swanky cabinet hardware, and more product choices -- from lighting to cabinetry to countertops.

Meanwhile, baby boomers in their 60s, whom Edwards termed "sexy seniors," don't want to talk about getting older. But they need homes that provide:

  • flexibility
  • easy access
  • low maintenance
  • convenience
  • safety and security
  • walkability

She added many boomers are moving to big cities to be close to shopping, culture, and other amenities. She termed these buyers "Ruppies" (retired urban people).

In terms of the Gen X and Gen Y home buyers, they demand the latest technology and lots of storage space to organize all their gadgets.

Finally, building pros should recognize that Hispanics are becoming the largest minority group in the United States. They crave big kitchens with large tables so generations can easily gather, and they prefer bolder, richer colors on walls, floors, fabrics, and products.