Times are changing. As we move forward into a new age, trends and interests are shifting in the multifamily industry. Millennials are now reaching the stage of life where they’re settling down, starting their families, and buying homes in the suburbs. As May comes to an end and the latest college graduates enter the rental market across the nation, multifamily properties are beginning to shift their focus in a new direction to better reach Generation Z. Born in 1997 and beyond, raised in a recession, and never experiencing life before the internet, Gen Z presents quite the contrast to the preceding generation.
Due to the higher costs of living and an overwhelming amount of student loan debt, this generation is less willing to undergo unnecessary expenses. According to a survey conducted by NerdWallet, more than two-thirds of Gen Zers use budgeting tools of some kind in order to manage their finances. In addition, roughly four in five Gen Zers have had to forgo an activity or purchase due to a lack of funds. So, when it comes to looking for a place to live, affordability and practicality are at the top of their priority list.
Less is More
Multifamily properties are starting to realize larger floorplans and high-end amenities are no longer a necessity. Mentioned by Zillow, modest Gen Zers are drawn to mid-sized apartments and are more likely to look at pre-furnished apartments. Also known as “Gen We,” this younger generation of renters would forgo personal amenities to put an emphasis on community and connection. Apartments are no longer just a space to eat and sleep in, but rather a community gathering place. Implementing communal spaces for events like game night, happy hour, or morning workout classes appeals to these young renters. This can also be a great retention tool. Residents who create bonds or connections with others in your community are more likely to renew their leases.
Growing Up Digital
While human connection is an important aspect of building a great community in the multifamily industry, digital connection remains essential. Technology has become an integral part of our everyday lives and a requirement for Gen Z. As this digitally fueled generation enters the workforce, work standards are slowly being rewritten. Flexibility, equality, and general work-life balance are becoming less of a luxury and more of a requirement. With remote work being more accessible than ever, coworking spaces are gaining popularity among the latest amenity trends. A comfortable, yet functional coworking space is a great way to tackle two desires of Gen Z by combining community and technology.
With how attuned Gen Z is to the internet and the world around them, multifamily properties are also having to use contemporary ways of reaching their new prospects. This incoming generation was raised by Gen X; a group customarily skeptical and less likely to buy into marketing gimmicks. Undoubtedly, these traits have rubbed off on the younger generation, causing brands and marketers to evolve their methods. Multifamily owners are turning to platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and even TikTok to create new storylines, brand reputations, and showcase their properties. According to Mobile Marketer, Gen Z is more inclined to believe online reviews and referrals from social media influencers, rather than messages from traditional marketing avenues. Sharing user-generated content posted by residents or “influencers” can make all the difference in your self-promotion. This is an audience that expects short messages and quick results that do not require digging for information. Brief videos on Instagram and Facebook Stories are a great way to grab their attention and get your message across effectively.
The impact Generation Z will have on the multifamily industry has yet to be fully determined. From pricing to amenities to marketing, adjustments are certain as owners prepare to shift their focus. Generation Z will call for a new approach as you begin to move this new wave of renters into your properties.
By Megan Wolfe