by Kaitlyn Ziemer | Project Manager, Grabinski Group

As any college student or graduate knows, there’s a certain splendor to dorm life, especially for those leaving their parents’ homes for the very first time. The freedom of an often-lawless/private space to live in, study in, and enjoy while moving through a defining new experience is extremely alluring for young adults. However, dormitories have until very recently been associated with barracks-style furnishings and less than stellar amenities. The new trend in student housing is to offer everything necessary for a first home away from home, boasting amenities like brand new kitchens, common areas with large flat screen televisions, unlimited Internet access, and cleaning staff to care for bathroom and common spaces. The dorm has become a luxury space that mimics and in some cases outshines the homes students leave when they go to school.

And, apparently, it doesn’t end with college. It may be easy to mistake new high rises popping up next to campuses around the country for student housing, but these new luxury installations aren’t intended for wide-eyed freshman. Instead, they’re meant to serve a different purpose: housing for young professionals.


The implications of the millennial generation aging out of adolescence and into adulthood, and thus transitioning out of college and into the workforce are becoming stronger and stronger. Many factors, such as career delays lead by the 2008 economic slump that drove young adults back into school to a rising reliance on student loans, have left Millennials with no immediate interest in home ownership. In fact, a Forbes study found that 54.4% of the rental market is comprised of studios and one bedroom apartments due to this young adult demand.

Rather than continuing to push family homes and condos, many developers are racing to meet this need, focusing energies instead on college-style housing that bridges the gap between youthful dorm life and professional convenience. And it’s working. Luxury apartments designed for young professionals with high salaries are dominating rental markets across the country, especially in high buck areas like Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York City, as well as around major college campuses.


So, what defines perfect housing for Millennials?

MILLENIAL-PROFESSIONALFor many young adults, the right combination of form and function is essential. Square footage isn’t often the issue; while there are those willing to pay more for more space, most young professionals are more concerned with what a space has to offer. Open floor plans, especially in kitchen and living areas are highly desired, encouraging an aesthetic creativity common among newcomers to the workforce. For those on a strict budget, a luxury space with smaller square footage is often preferred over a larger residence with less to offer. Millennials are also less likely to purchase vehicles, choosing instead to rely on public transportation in cities with strong subway and bus systems or other “greener” methods of transportation, like biking and walking.


In addition to searching for unique housing opportunities, the amenities preferred by Millennials often differ slightly from standard apartment models. Gen-Xers may have been content with a pool, clubhouse, and gym, but Millennials are looking to put a personal touch on spaces, both private and shared.

As individuals who grew up during the rise of technology, many young professionals prefer modern amenities and clean, stark spaces. Internet connectivity is clearly also very important to many young professionals. The average young adult spends the equivalent of one entire day per week online, making access to both mobile and wireless connections vital for day-to-day life. Cable is decidedly less important; most Millennials prefer digital streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime to traditional cable packages, making Internet connection the number one priority. Because of this, easy access to connectivity and outlets is very important. With so many portable devices like phones, tablets, and laptops, young professionals on the move prefer relaxing in spaces with ubiquitous charging capabilities.

With cooking trends on the rise, especially with Instagram and Pinterest driving Millennials to share pictures of meals, both restaurant and homemade, kitchen space is becoming more important than ever. Many young adults see the kitchen as the center of a home and will sacrifice square footage and available living space for a comfortable place to cook and socialize.


With the stronghold Millennials have on the rental market, these needs should not be neglected. Providing the spaces and amenities desired will drive young professionals to live in these new affordable luxury apartment buildings.

Millennial apartments should be a primary goal for developers, focusing on flexible space, sleek and modern amenities, and creative, unique furnishings. Driven by a strong need for individuality, young professionals are looking for comfort and convenience balanced with high-end luxury, creating an adult take on the new trends in student housing–so much so that it is becoming expected.

When you’re looking for the perfect way to add the appropriate finishing touches to a construction project geared toward a millennial aesthetic, the Grabinski Group is your premier all-purpose resource.


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