Finding Your Buyer's Dream Property In 2024: Top Trends & Tools To Help You Get There

popular home trends 2024

“What good is your dream house if you haven’t got a dream?” – Julius Shulman

Facing a resurgence of interest, thanks in part to 2023’s monumental box office sensation Barbie, dreamhouses may no longer be reserved for miniature dolls set to live out their playtime existence within the kaleidoscopes of bubblegum pink, pops of playful pastels, and fantastical reimaginations of what idealism looks like to them.

We get it. They’re toys.

Their ideas of perfection may bubble down to a life free of cellophane, a palm tree paradise, and a winding magenta waterslide that descends into a patio of multifaceted pink stucco lined with lemon lounge recliners speckled with precisely folded beach towels and two-tiered umbrellas. 

Because Barbie is everything…if not always comfortable.

But while this pristinely plastic promised land may not be for everyone, dreamhouses are back in the spotlight in a big way.

And why shouldn’t they be? 

Fueled on the flawlessly dystopian notion that we can all afford multi-level mansions of cutting-edge architecture, endlessly open-air concepts, and room after room filled with bespoke furniture – dreamhouses are just that. Dreams.

They’re beautiful, wonderful, and utterly fantasy-inducing.

But the thing is, not all dreams are created equal. And some can very well be set in reality.

In the modern real estate market, we know the same goes for our buyers. Needs, wants, and preferences rarely align. Lifestyles are often vastly varied.

Therefore, the dreams of what home could mean differ from person to person. 

For some, size is not always king; breezy floor-to-ceiling glass lets in too much sun, and monochromatic is in over splashes of cherry pink and poppy peach.

But as many face a new fiscal year full of possibility and renewed hope that lowering mortgage rates will pave the way for their first (or next) home purchase…the question on any realtor’s mind should be: what does dreamhouse mean to my buyers?


While we can bet it’s not sweet mirages of magenta, rose, and coral, all wrapped up in the neon tints of make-believe, we can examine popular home trends of the new year and analyze the varying preferences of homebuyers – tracking the post-pandemic industry shifts to make sure you are more than prepared to meet the needs of your prospective clients. 

Because there’s a big difference between a dreamhouse and a dreamhome.

A big difference between something shiny and mismatched to something just right for your client and their unique circumstances.

A big difference between playtime and family time.

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And we’re here to help you make the connections, follow the trends, and understand what will be a hit for your buyers this year (whether or not they know it just yet). 

2024 May Be The Year Of The First-Time Homebuyer

“2023 was just brutal for first-time homebuyers,” explains Melissa Ryan, a Los Angeles-based luxury property specialist with Coldwell Banker Realty. And with thirty-seven years in the real estate business, when Ryan notes the market is tough…she means it.

We saw high home prices, impossibly high mortgage rates, low inventory, and more competition, not to mention the economic inflation that made it incredibly difficult for homebuyers – especially first-time homebuyers – to secure property last year.

But there’s finally hope on the horizon.

And just like the perfectly coiffed tides along Barbie’s Malibu beach, The National Association of Realtors also predicts affordability may be back in style in 2024.


We’re seeing mortgage rates gradually come down (with weekly averages at 6.63% for 30-year fixed and 5.94% for 15-year fixed as of February 1st). In comparison to the sky-high rates we saw in October 2023 (with weekly averages spiking at 7.79% for 30-year fixed and 7.03% for 15-year fixed), this welcome sigh of relief may be the first step toward homeownership for many.

The economy is bouncing back, and home prices have even started slowly lowering (with the median sale price just over $402,000 as of December 2023, as opposed to over $425,000 in June). 

And with the white-tipped waves positively turning, Ryan has urgent advice to consider as you strive to convince your prospective buyers they need to act quickly if they want to get their feet back in the market.

“The bottom line is, if they don’t get in the game now, they’re never going to get in the game.”


And since time is of the essence, it’s up to you to do everything in your power to understand what may be hot in the market this year in order to wow your clients and get them into a home they love before we see another dip that could make that dream of theirs an impossibility.

What Will Be Hot With Buyers In 2024? And What Do You Need To Prepare For?

Outside of the toy box, we’re seeing a little less pink and a lot fewer plastic snap-together couches in regards to what’s hitting big with eager buyers this year.

Overall, cosmetic appeal, such as midcentury modern, sustainable design, natural outdoor spaces, and a revitalized focus on the kitchen as a central living space, are gaining traction.

And while we could talk about neutrals all day long and the lush forest shades that are hitting big in 2024, we’re here to analyze what types of properties may just be dreamy enough for our baby boomers, our millennials, and our Gen Z buyers to sign on the dotted line, lay out the welcome mats, and throw elaborate dance parties in their living rooms.

And to do that, we have to better understand their lifestyles and what can take a property from good to great to dreamhouse.

Baby Boomers Want To Downsize. Many Can’t Afford To 

“Baby boomers are looking for a comfortable home that they don’t have to do a lot of work to,” notes Ryan. “But their idea of a move-in ready house, it’d definitely be different than a Gen Z.”


While Gen Z typically has more lavish expectations, baby boomers don’t need that extra polish to feel like they've found their spot. Low-maintenance is in, as is extra storage and features that can aid in their later years, including wide doorways and walk-in showers. 

Ryan adds they also prefer one story and are often looking to be close to hospitals, doctors, and similar institutions while also a short distance from family.

And while many would assume (and it was recently predicted) that a silver tsunami of baby boomers would begin to impact the market in early 2024, swooping up smaller properties they could downsize into, doubts have risen amongst experts if that’s truly something we’ll see this year.

However, even with positive signs of a more stable market to come, many baby boomers are stuck in the oversized properties of their younger years, unable to downsize due to lack of inventory, home prices, and high mortgage rates.

This creates a problem of gatekeeping family homes that would typically be hot commodities for millennials looking to make their move to the pink-paved roads of the suburbs. 

So, what can you do to clear the blockers, keep the market moving, and help your baby boomer buyers find their piece of paradise?


Tap a friendly data-driven lead generation platform, such as PropertyRadar, that can amplify your search by tracking specific neighborhoods, parameters, and home types, effortlessly allowing you to narrow your house hunt down to the exact particulars of what your homebuyers are seeking.

1.    Pinpoint the perfect property. Look for homes featuring the trends above, and don’t forget to personalize with additional needs surfaced by your clients. Looking for an outdoor garden? Check. Walking distance to the grandkids? You got it. And forget going door-to-door in desired communities. Use PropertyRadar to create lists of preferred filters and locations and get alerted when new homes that match become available.

2.    Target those with high equity. Baby boomers are not just looking for their dreamhouse – they’re looking for their dream opportunity. Leverage PropertyRadar to look up homeowners who have ample equity within their current properties, which will allow them to more easily navigate the market, regardless of mortgage rate. Outreach to check their interest on downsizing, and make sure to have listings on hand to show them early possibilities.

3.    Act fast. Inventory is still forecast to be tight in 2024, which means high competition from hungry buyers. With over 25% of houses still selling above list price in December 2023, you need to beat the crowds and move in swiftly with an offer when your client finds something dream-worthy. A tip? Make sure you’re expertly attuned to everything they’re looking for so you can jump at the right opportunities when they become available.

Millennials And Gen Z Are Split, But Both Are Looking For Location 

Millennials and Gen Z buyers are “obviously at a completely different stage of life,” notes Ryan, who categorizes these prospective customers into two types.

“One buyer wants it all,” she explains. “Perfect condition, preferably new construction, it has to have every amenity you can possibly imagine…all of the smart home features, typically a pool, incredible open kitchen open to the family room, high ceilings…and then walkability.”

The other type? “They’ll take a fixer, and they will be happy to make it their own…as long as it’s in – for example – the right school district.” 


The connecting thread?

“Gen Z and millennials definitely want to be in very specific locations,” Ryan confirms. 

And while most millennials want that single-family home, don’t expect them to move to the middle of nowhere to get it.

Barbie would never.

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They want great amenities out of their neighborhoods, while 54% want access to public transit. Similarly, Gen Z needs walkable communities and values inclusivity in their surroundings.

Both desire that coveted outdoor space, lots of smart home tech, and you can thank the pandemic for that must-have home office.

“I don’t see that changing anytime in the near future, especially with more and more companies downsizing their office space,” confirms Ryan. “It’s the number one thing.”

So, what are your next steps to find your younger buyers their dream property?

A few things to keep in mind:

1.    It’s all about building equity. With younger homebuyers, who may have less in the bank, their dreamhouse could be one that ticks most of the boxes (versus all) and allows them to productively invest in the market. Ryan notes, “That house that you buy – maybe you’re not going to absolutely love it – but it’s going to increase in value. And when you’re ready to take the next step, that equity in the home that you bought now, that’s not your favorite home in the world, will help you get there.”

2.    Focus on location over features. We know, we know. Both is good. You want Barbie and Ken. But when it comes down to an either-or – opt for what provides the lifestyle millennials and Gen Z want instead of flashy features. Neighborhood hot spots, high walkability – being in the center of the action is right up the alley of younger buyers. If it’s one or the other, make sure to narrow in on the area desired, with help from PropertyRadar, and dig deeper from there. More than likely, your clients will showcase a bit of flexibility once they walk the whole ten feet from the closest restaurant to their front door.

So, with all this talk on proximity and the importance of where you live over what you live in…is the mega-mansion fantasy of living out your best years in XL a thing of the past?

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Is The Dreamhouse Dead? Or Has It Just Been Redefined? 

“It was definitely more of a status symbol,” notes Ryan, describing the very large homes and mansions of the past. “You had to have the right home, and it had to be…very ostentatious.” 

But now?

Dreamhouses are “a little bit smaller than they used to be,” she explains.


And as priorities shift, the long-held equation that the size of the home fulfills the dream may not be true for all anymore.

The key word here? Compromise.

As realtors, we need to understand what is deeply important to our buyers and shake the cobwebs from the archaic notion that one thing trumps all. They want a three story luxury residence? Great! But they most likely won’t find it on a neighborhood corner right next to a community coffee shop. They want to be in the middle of the action? Fantastic! But they may need to explore going smaller on size.


It's all about keying into the unique dreams of your individual clients. What does happiness in their home look like to them?

Everyone’s dreams can look different – so what’s theirs?

So What Is The Modern Dreamhouse? And How Can You Help Your Buyers Find It?

“It’s really about helping people with their dreams and putting them first,” emphasizes Ryan. “To be a real estate agent, the most important thing is to want to help people.”

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So, whether you’re helping the growing millennial family looking for more space without sacrificing their school district or guiding recent retirees to a more manageable property near their children, it’s up to you to help make dreams a priority…and a reality.

And speaking of reality, if you’re wondering about that trademark fabulous pink plastic dreamhouse of stereotypical Barbie and her twelve-inch friends? Ryan has an idea of how it’d see its way to modern times.

“It would be a beautiful home, brand new build, modern architecture, lots of glass…with some natural wood to warm the home up. It would have incredible views, multi-level, very open, and I would say the dreamhouse – on average – would be about 10,000 square feet. Definitely have at least a six-car garage, incredible theater, lots of entertaining areas, infinity pool.”

And for some – that’s great. Because that’s their dream. But it may not be everyone’s.

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And just as multifaceted and original as your clients are, so are their home preferences.

The bottom line: The modern dreamhouse is any house that fits the unique needs and wants of your buyer. What makes them feel comfortable and secure and themselves within those four walls.

And hey – if they want a hot pink water slide and princess pink upholstery? We know you have it in you to find it for them.

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So leverage your grit and knowledge around what’s trending this calendar year to find the plastic-perfect destination for your buyers. Don’t forget to utilize all the tools in your toolkit, and remember that tracking desired neighborhoods and properties with PropertyRadar may be the difference between a dreamhouse lost or a dreamhouse won for your prospective clients.

We all deserve our dreamhouse.

But a dreamhouse doesn’t have to mean 6,000 square feet and an abhorrent amount of horse tapestries (we’re looking at you, Ken).

We can tip our hats to Barbie for reintroducing the notion of settling into a space that simply makes us happy. Whether that’s all shades of pink or the quintessential mojo dojo casa house. 

You help your clients find theirs. And use PropertyRadar to help you do it.


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