Sometimes it seems like people like to talk more about millennials than millennials like the talk about themselves. We see opinions such as an overly generalized “they’re all lazy and selfish” and naysayers who see the 18-34 demographic as a threat to the economy. After all, they’re not buying houses. They’re not getting jobs, so some conclude that they’re at fault for our economic woes. On the other end of the spectrum, writers celebrate the drive millennials have to make a mark on the world, both as entrepreneurs and visionaries, while recognizing how the economy has stifled their ability to gain a solid footing in the professional world.
No matter what you may think about millennials, they are the up-and-coming face of our workforce and they want and value things that are different than any generation before them. Real estate investors need to pay attention to how millennials impact the world — because they’re likely to be your number one customer.
3 Ways Millennials Impact Real Estate
They Value a Portable Lifestyle
In the past, people were basically tied to wherever their job was, whether it was an office or a factory. Modern technology has made location a less necessary requirement for many occupations, both for freelancers and employees. Millennials like to know that they aren’t tied down — they can work, live and experience life on the go. That’s partly why so many millennials are content to rent. A lease does tie them down, but only temporarily. Perhaps that why we see that even in thriving economies (like in Dallas), millennial professionals that could likely purchase a home are still choosing to rent purely out of lifestyle preference.
Their Interests Lie Elsewhere
The values of millennials have shifted from the generations before them. They aren’t nearly as interested in buying new cars and new homes. Historically, the real estate and automobile industries have been a driving force behind the economy — and many would say that the millennial disinterest in these purchases is stifling recovery. In many cases, though, millennials are simply trying to save money and be less cavalier with big purchases that they don’t see as essential for a full, happy life. For real estate investors, a closer examination is in order. What do millennials want in their living spaces? Studies say smaller, efficient spaces that are close to amenities and city centers. Everything is shifting towards a new type of economy.
Many are Stuck in “Economic Purgatory”
Bryan Melmed, vice president of insight services of Exponential Interactive, an ad intelligence firm, describes many millennials as being trapped in “economic purgatory” — unable to secure jobs that use their potential while being chronically overeducated and underemployed. This has led millennials to avoid risk like the plague. They clip coupons, live with multiple roommates look for any chance to economize.
While not every millennial falls into these trends, they are widespread enough to demand attention. For real estate investors, it’s not enough to simply provide a rental home or apartment for millennials. Their values offer plenty of opportunity to tailor your businesses practices to best target their demographic — utilizing technology, efficiency and what millennials want most out of renting.
What has your experience with millennial renters been? Share with us in the comments.