The housing and credit crisis has made being frugal very trendy. It’s now "cool" to save money rather than waste money. Even big banks are cashing in on the trend and coming up with hip tag lines like, "frugal is the new cool" as they promote ads and videos online that help consumers learn ways to save money.
The poor economic times are causing some major shifts in homeownership. Many young people are opting to rent longer rather than buy partly driven by the fact that they can’t afford a downpayment or don’t qualify for a loan. Also, there is a larger than ever percentage of single people. These smaller households are seeking highly walkable places to live and work.
The Millennials (those born 1980-1995, approximately–there is some disagreement about the exact years) share some specific desires regarding their housing needs. They want to drive less and have public transportation nearby. They don’t necessarily need or want to own right now. Instead, they might prefer to have a newer, hip and modern place they rent over one they own and have to fix up. They may be strapped for cash, so they want amenities included in the rent–like the use of a gym. Small is good for them since this generation is trying to save money on things like their utility bills.
While renting may be the solution for many in this generation, some younger people still want to own their own home. In particular, single moms and women from the Millennial generation view homeownership as important to them. Making that happen could be difficult if they don’t take heed of the lessons from previous generations. This group, at about 80-million strong, will make a big difference in our housing and economic future. This is presumed to be a huge rental market opportunity for landlords.
Timothy Smith, an echo boomer, and founder of EchoBoomBomb.com, writes that the this generation will make sacrifices like rooming together for extensive periods in order to help all in the household save for their own homes in the future.
He writes on his blog that this generation values higher education, maybe more so than owning a home.
If you’re a landlord interested in targeting this massive generation for housing needs there are some key points to observe. This group has grown up with technology, so finding a place to live will likely come by way of the Web but not just through websites; instead they will get information about rental listings from their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social sharing sites. To be competitive as a landlord, you have to market to this generation where they are familiar with getting their information–and that is not necessarily the printed paper.
This group also watches a lot online. Videos that feature your rental home and showcase how close it is to retail and entertainment centers will go far in getting this generation to stop in and check out your listing. Point out the energy-efficiency systems you’ve put in and how much tenants can save on their utility bill. Demonstrate the easy-to-care-for simplicity of your home.
Since this generation is young, it is obviously ever-changing and developing. Keeping a close eye on the millennials will help you better understand their housing needs and desires.