The new coming-of-age consumer group is Generation Z.
Those born between 1998(ish) and 2012(ish) are considered the tech generation and are quickly becoming the target audience for most real estate businesses. At this point, 27% of the U.S. population is Gen Z, with the oldest of them just now turning 25 and 26. They are the most racially and ethnically diverse of all the generation groups, and a majority of them are now voting. Whereas most Millennials came of age during the Great Recession, Gen Z’s have navigated a promising economic climate to recently being thrust into a global pandemic and now looking at an uncertain future. But Gen Z is adaptable, they are savvy and ready to tackle the changing societal norms as they make their way into adulthood.
But that also means they are willing to be the change too. We’ve already seen huge shifts in real estate trends and priorities as the Gen Z population begins to enter the workforce and live on their own — they’ve even started to buy homes.
It’s giving….a generation ready to make some waves.
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Gen Z Homebuyers
Most of the Gen Z population is still college-age, but many of them are renting apartments off campus or even living on their own and heading straight into the workforce. Still, most Gen Z’s believe that buying a home is the next step, though less than the overall mentality. According to a Bankrate survey, 63% of Gen Z associates owning a home with the American Dream — less than the overall 73%.
What’s stopping them?
Student debt, down payments, job security, and high-interest rates (though the list goes on).
4% of all homebuyers, according to the National Association of Realtors, are Gen Z. With most marketing moving into a rental environment, it continues to be difficult to navigate.
But Gen Z are entrepreneurial-minded and often deviate from traditional career paths to ensure their financial security. They understand the importance of investments, and so we are seeing more and more Gen Z homebuyers enter the market.
What do Gen Z homebuyers (and even renters) look for in a development?
They care first and foremost about location. Location, location, location. The other generations care about location as well, but Gen Z has the higher numbers, by far. Most of the Gen Z population wants to be well-connected to the world around them. Although they are the tech generation, they value in-person experiences, coffee shops, shopping, movies, etc. They want to be near it all. If not consumer experiences, they value space, nature, the environment, and being outside.
Most Gen Z homebuyers and renters are looking for unique spaces, modern appliances, buildings and homes that fit with their lifestyle, and ample parking.
How do we market to them?
As we said before, these guys are digital natives. As long as they’ve been alive, so has the internet. They know more about our technology than any other generation and are especially savvy on social media. So use it!
Think about mobile usage first, they aren’t on these social platforms on the desktop. This is a generation that grew up with iPhones, they live and breathe their phones.
Gen Z is also used to fast speeds, fast answers, and quickly finding information. If you want to keep up with them, make sure your sites are quick, ads get to the point, and you are answering their questions in real-time. They don’t have long attention spans. You need to capture their attention right away or they will keep swiping.
They also rely heavily on online reviews, so push your customers or homeowners to leave positive reviews on Google or your website.
Gen Z & Mixed-Use Developments
Whether they are working or living in a mixed-use area, consider these tips.
Gen Z values four things:
They want everything in a short distance: shopping, working, movies, grocery stores, everything. They also value social interaction, community engagement, and environmental responsibility, so lean on those key aspects of your mixed-use facility when building.
Growing up surrounded by tech and in the new normal post-pandemic, Gen Z is a generation that values flexibility and working from any location. They’ve adopted a new set of personal and professional lifestyle preferences based on convenience, flexibility, and connectivity — a kind of semi-urban living.
When considering how to design your mixed-use space or apartment complex think about this:
Gen Z wants flex space for their changing needs. When designing an apartment building think about open concepts, extra rooms for gaming or working, and space-saving measures.
Most Gen Z workers are remote workers, so make sure your mixed-use space has remote work areas and your apartment units have the equipment necessary to support report work.
Shared spaces! This is key for this generation who values connection and socialization. In your mixed-use space ensure you have lounges, game rooms, movie theaters, fitness centers, and conference rooms.
As we said, this is the tech generation so make sure you have plenty of tech features associated with your space. This could be keyless entry, voice activation, energy-efficient appliances, etc.
Gen Z is on social media more than any other generation, so make sure you have some Instagrammable spaces in your building. That could be living walls, cool backdrops, murals outside the space, a nice pool area, anything.
Finally, always be thinking about ‘Ferns and Fido.’ Generation Z considers their pets their children and their plants their pets, so make sure your spaces have ample light for indoor plants and plenty of accommodations for our furry friends.
Gen Z’s Take on Real Estate Hits Different
They are just a vastly different generation, unique for so many reasons, and ready to conquer the world as the rising generation. They’ve been looked down upon, scoffed off, and even considered inferior at times, but they know what they are doing. They are a smart generation, a generation ready to make some changes, and they certainly have had a huge impact on real estate as we know it.
This insight only scratches the surface of changing trends and Gen Z preferences. As they grow older and once the majority of them are in their 20s and 30s, things will change even more, so now is the time to get ahead and start learning how you can capture their attention and get them interested in your properties.
We love keeping our eye on trends and observing how different generations should be marketed to in real estate, if you have any other questions, of course, give us a call.
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