It is projected that by 2025 Generation Z and millennials will share the largest percentage of renters across the US. And by 2030, Gen Z will take over the multifamily market. This change will catalyze a large shift in marketing and operational practices within the multifamily industry due to Gen Z’s steadfast moral influence and reliance on technology.
In this blog, we’ll examine how this new generation will change the industry as a whole, from the leasing teams on the ground up to the corner executive suite.
Gen Z + Technology
Gen Z is the world’s first generation to not know what life was like before the internet (eep!). Which means technology will play an even greater role in apartment living as this new digital generation takes over.
What was considered standard as little as five years ago will soon feel antiquated and unnecessary. (Maybe even impossible? Ask a millennial or Gen Zer to print a leasing application at home—I bet they can’t.) With that in mind, your community’s operations like applications, lease forms, maintenance requests, rent payments, and even communications, should already be shifting to an online source. Not only is this a faster way to sign leases, it’s also more secure and easier for everyone involved.
But it’s not enough to simply offer these (now basic) tech solutions. Website improvements for a better user experience, virtual tours, and incorporating artificial intelligence like an AI leasing assistant are also becoming standard practices for multifamily communities.
Other tech amenities like electric vehicle charging stations (and a way to schedule their use online), smart locks and doorbell cameras, package lockers, and community WiFi are only growing in popularity.
If you want to attract more young prospects to your apartment community, consider budgeting for some of these tech-friendly amenities.
Gen Z reliance on social media & reputation
Millennials and Gen Z use social media differently than older generations, especially since the pandemic. Social media is not just a place to interact with your family and friends—many use it as a search engine or research tool.
One of the first places a prospect will look when they hear of your community is Google. The second is social media.
For Gen Z, quality of life is invaluable. By remaining active, engaged, and authentic on social media you have the opportunity to show prospects what it’s like living in the community, and provide avenues for engagement for your current residents.
Younger renters also rely heavily on review sites to make their decision. So it is vital to respond to each review and address any negative comments publicly and professionally.
Recently a debate emerged in multifamily around pet policies. Pets are more important to young renters than ever before, especially following 2020 which saw a massive influx of pandemic pets.
Data collected between 2019-2020 indicates that millennials and Gen Z account for 57% of American pet parents—and that doesn’t account for the millions of people that adopted ‘pandemic pets’ between 2020 and 2022.
Simply put: pets are the new children. According to a study by The Zebra, two in five Millennials say they think of their pets as their kids. And many pet parents find it unfair that it is so difficult to have a furry companion while living in an apartment community. By providing pet inclusive housing (not just pet friendly) you have a major advantage among young renters in a market that typically restricts pet ownership.
In recent years communities have altered their pet policies, striking down any breed, size, or weight restrictions and saw retention increase. In fact, research shows residents of apartment communities with inclusive pet policies stay 21% longer.
Social responsibility & fair practices
One of the biggest differences between Gen Z and older generations is their unfailing commitment to social responsibility and fair practices. This holds true not only for mainstream social justice movements, but in every facet of their lives—including what they buy and where they choose to call home.
By actively promoting causes that will benefit your property and neighboring communities, you can improve your reputation and make a statement to incoming prospects about your commitment to the community and the people in it.
Recycling programs, charity events, community yard sales, donation drives, and partnering with small businesses are just a few ways that apartment communities can get involved.
Gen Z is fostering change
There’s no doubt about it—Gen Z’s introduction to multifamily living will catalyze a shift in the industry toward a more innovative and honest approach to renting apartments.
If you’re looking for advice or help implementing tech solutions to improve your leasing process, click the button below to speak with one of our multifamily experts.