Catering to Gen-Z Community Residents
For all of the headlines concerning Millennials and their impacts on various markets, it’s unwise to overlook the fact that a new generation is reaching the age of independence and entering the workforce, influencing the economy, and making their mark on the housing market. If you’re a property owner or manager, it’s time to start thinking about Gen-Z – what their needs are, what they’re looking for, and how best to appeal to them if you want them to choose to rent in your community.
Location Over Living Space
In general, Gen-Z renters aren’t looking for sprawling living spaces. They’re willing to settle for a lot less room in exchange for residing in certain locations – typically walkable urban areas that are close to jobs, amenities, and entertainment. Many are choosing not to drive, whether out of financial necessity or simply a lack of desire. Instead, they rely on a combination of public transit, ride-sharing, and walking or biking.
Of course, you can’t move your property’s location on a whim, but it doesn’t hurt to play up the aspects of your property that match up with what Gen-Z renters are seeking. Are you close to public transit stops? Are there shops or entertainment venues conveniently located? Is the area growing in terms of economic activity? These are all things that the youngest renters are looking for in a home.
Unlike their Gen-X and Boomer parents and grandparents, Millennials started adopting digital devices and internet-based tools early in life, and are both more comfortable and more reliant on these tools than previous generations. But Gen-Zers are something else; they were born with smartphones in their hands. Digital tools aren’t a helpful bonus for them – they’re a necessity.
Potential Gen-Z tenants are looking for smart appliances, biometric security systems, and convenient apps to make even the most mundane of tasks more accessible and convenient. A service like Tide Cleaners, which allows residents to place their dirty laundry in an on-premises locker, place an order from an app on their phones, and return later to pick up their freshly-laundered laundry from the same locker is tailor-made to appeal to the Gen-Z renter.
Despite concerns about the tendency of teenagers to bury their faces in their phones in lieu of “face time” with live people, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the youngest crop of adults cares a great deal about community-building. They just approach it differently than older generations. Rather than knocking on the neighbor’s door to introduce themselves, they’re more likely to connect on a community forum or social media page first, before arranging in-person meetups. Unexpected drop-ins – or even unexpected phone calls – are considered impolite by the younger generation.
This means that property managers who want to foster a sense of community would do well to maintain their community’s social media pages and build online community forums where residents (and potential residents) can connect with each other. A thriving and inclusive online community is a good sign for where the property’s in-person community is going as well.
Gen-Z accounts for close to 30 percent of the population, so their impact on all segments of the market is already substantial and growing every day as more of them reach adulthood. If you’re in the rental business, keeping your finger on the pulse of Gen-Z is going to become vital for the sustainability of your property.