Millennials, known for spending more on experiences than on material things, seem to have a naturally strong pull towards the ‘lifestyle of less’. The trend of owning just 33 items of clothing, decluttering by throwing away an item a day, and cooking with 10 ingredients or less, is catching on fast with India’s urban millennial crowd. And a similar trend is taking over the housing sector as well. The millennial generation, who by 2020, will account for 65 percent of the Indian population want their living spaces to define their values. They want their homes to be a reflection of their preference to ‘declutter’ rather than ‘hoard’.
No longer do we see palatial and ostentatious houses in vogue. Functional houses are trending instead. Millennials are highly concerned with the environment, have a need for self-sufficiency and desire more time and freedom. This makes the minimalistic concept of small, but functional housing both liberating and attractive.A Forbes article, reported that studios and one-bedroom apartments were steadily on the rise in the US, and comprised of 54.4 percent of the apartment rental market. Some of them are even taking the concept a step further by embracing the ‘tiny house’ movement. They are choosing living spaces that are approximately or less than 400 square feet and cost under $30,000 (20 lakhs INR) to build.
We see this trend in India too, where the current demand for ‘affordable housing’, is set to continue through the next decade. Studio apartments, single bedroom or compact double bedroom apartments are what the minimalists are seeking out. The newly launched project Here & Now, consisting of 384 homes has been built along a similar formula. The homes range from 440 square feet studio apartments to 990 square feet compact double bedrooms- perfect for singles, couples and young families who are living the minimalistic lifestyle.
Such buyers of smaller houses live with the bare minimum of things. For them, more things mean more time spent in caring for them. When it comes to housing, they choose low-maintenance living spaces that are rich in community infrastructure. RealtorMag recently reported the millennials’ preferences for multifunctional spaces, where a single space can be used as a living room, dining room or even bedroom. Bookcases become obsolete, since books are electronically stored on a device, and closets become slimmer, since fewer clothes are owned.
A CNBC news report stated that 85 percent of millennials in the US think real estate is a good investment. In India, 65 percent of them aspire to invest in property. But for this to happen, housing trends must match their intended aspirations.
Minimalism is more than just a passing aesthetic trend. It is a reflection of our current generational values- a generation, which prefers experiences over things, chooses to access services via a sharing economy and spends only on brands that appeal to their ethical and environmental values. So compact houses, community infrastructure, and multifunctional living spaces will continue to trend until generational values shift again.