Millennials currently hold the title as the largest generation in history—there are 92 million of them according to Goldman Sachs. But who, exactly, falls into this category? The term “millenial” encompasses anyone who was born between the year 1980 and 2000. This means they grew up with practically unlimited access to technology and the internet. In fact, many of them don’t remember a time before computers were a household essential.
With the millennial generation collectively beginning to exit those initial post-college years, they’re poised to become an economic force as their paychecks climb along with their spending. And given the sheer size of this cohort, it’s important for multifamily housing marketers to know how to engage with them. Here’s what millennials are looking for in a rental—and how you can capitalize on it.
Renting vs. Buying
Whereas marriage, parenthood, and home ownership used to be the American dream, millennials are starting to see things a bit differently. It’s not that they aren’t getting married, having kids, or buying homes — they just aren’t in a hurry to do so. More millennials are waiting until their 30s to settle down, start a family, and move out of the nest (AKA their parents’ home). And since many are saddled with student loan debt, buying a house before all of this happens just isn’t a priority.
So millennials are renting for longer than previous generations, and some will choose to rent indefinitely. Whereas 52% of young adults rented in 2005, the number had jumped to 60% by 2013 according to Goldman Sachs. Home ownership has also dropped by about 8% in the last decade. This all means that millennials are a major opportunity for multifamily marketers. The generation doesn’t care as much about owning a home as their predecessors, and in general they aren’t as concerned with owning anything. That’s why car-sharing companies are taking off and fewer and fewer millennials bother buying a TV.
Millennials are also values-driven, which means they care as much about what you’re doing behind the scenes as how swanky your rentals are. Renters in this age bracket will respond well to eco-conscious touches, like energy-efficient appliances, and demonstrated charitable efforts by your organization. If your company is giving back to the community or working to go green, let renters know! It could be a major selling point.
Younger renters also tend to come with some four-legged baggage—about three-quarters of them own a cat or dog. So if you don’t allow pets in your units, you could be driving away a major chunk of this demographic. If you do welcome furry friends, make sure that fact is prominently displayed on your website so that prospective customers don’t have to worry about whether or not their pup is invited to move in, too.
Avid Online Detectives
A whole new term has been coined to describe the generation that grew up with the internet: digital natives. This basically means that going online is like breathing for a millennial. They never had to really think about how to navigate the internet; the skill was practically innate.
As digital natives, millennials are going to ask the online community how your rentals stack up before they even think about signing a lease. They’ll scour review sites and, once they do decide to rent, certainly throw in their two cents online. Millennials also prefer to find information on the internet instead of picking up the phone.
That’s why Respage’s marketing offerings are perfect for targeting millennial renters. Our online reputation management tools help to shape the conversation on Yelp, Google+, and other review sites so that prospective residents can see that you really care about your community. Chatbot, meanwhile, entices digital natives to learn more about your rentals without the commitment of speaking to someone on the phone. Click here to explore the services that can help you engage this rising generation.