If you’ve ever put a Baby Boomer and a Millennial in the same room, you know there are some different personality characteristics, priorities and attitudes associated with each generation. These characteristics result in different goals, lifestyle choices and purchasing behaviors. Sure, not everyone identifies with every generational trait associated with their age group. But knowing the general trends for each group can help you make smarter moves when marketing homes to each generation.
Baby Boomers have recently found themselves with empty nests as their kids move out and start lives of their own. They’re looking to downsize to more reasonably sized homes and neighborhoods as they finish paying off their mortgages. There seems to be two different behaviors among Baby Boomers. Some are looking to move to communities tailored to their new lifestyle. They also want to live among a population that is in the same age group they fall in. Others are looking to move to more walkable neighborhoods with a generous amount of restaurants and shops to choose from. They see their empty nests as an opportunity to start living life for themselves again. The desire to remain independent and to stay close to friends and family seem to be the most consistent trends among this generation. Baby Boomers do not want to move into assisted care facilities or leave their personal homes and neighborhoods. Instead, they would prefer to have these care services available at home if they’re needed.
Generation X was dealt a bad hand during the housing market crash in 2007. Many people in this group were just buying homes and investing in properties when the market started going downhill. Because of this, a large portion of Generation X has been renting in recent years rather than buying. The main reason for this? Cost. A portion of Generation X lost their homes to foreclosure or missed out on the opportunity to buy due to the market being so unfavorable. Now that the housing market is looking up, Generation X has had a chance to recover and is looking to buy again. Those who are starting to buy place priority in a location that is close to work and close to schools for their kids. Think of these kinds of locations as convenient suburbs where you’re not in the hustle and bustle of an urban location, but have similar access to entertainment, food and activities. Having a prestigious and well rated school system nearby is another top priority for these buyers who have kids currently in the school system.
The Millennial generation highly values experiences and the freedom to live life when and how they want to. For this reason Millennials often cite location as one of the top influencing factors while on the house hunt. They want to be where the action is, and have access to public transportation if they need it. The closer they are to restaurants, bars and venues, the better. Millennials take pride in their independence and their ability to function and entertain themselves. For this reason, some of the top places listed for Millennials to live in are cities immersed in culture like San Francisco, Denver and Seattle.
Generation Z is starting to become independent from their parents and are renting their first apartments. It’s important to consider this group as the future of the real estate industry. Many of these individuals grew up seeing the financial hardships Millennials faced when it came to student loan debt and finding jobs after college. Because of this, many of them are frugal and already starting to save money for their future. This mentality has drawn them to desire more reasonably sized homes and neighborhoods that won’t break the bank in the future. In addition to their desire to find smaller homes, many members of Generation Z actually see themselves living in the suburbs. This is a stark difference from the preferences of their predecessors in the Millennial generation. Generation Z wants to stay close to home, but likely not in the same neighborhood or town that they grew up in. Your clients will likely disclose their neighborhood needs and wants to you as you walk them through the home buying process. That said, having a possible starting point based on their generational trends could prove to be helpful while preparing. Just remember to listen to your client and you'll have them in the house of their dreams in no time.