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The Boom of the Next Generation of Renters

Call them what you will—Millennials, Gen Y, Generation Next or Echo Boomers—they are all descriptors for the next generation of renters hitting the multifamily housing industry. A key characteristic of this demographic (who were born between 1982 and 1995 and are either the children or grandchildren of Baby Boomers) is that they are the most informed prospects that you have likely ever encountered. These potential renters are approximately 80 million strong, range in age from 16-29 and are highly educated as well as technologically savvy.

Before stepping foot on your actual property, they will already have a good idea of what it looks like from photos and videos online—some of which have been posted by prior or current renters, some of them possibly posted by your company. Members of this next generation know the amenities your community offers, how much rent will cost them each month and they have unprecedented access to communication with your past and present residents via various social media avenues like Facebook and Twitter. They will most likely find out about your property through the Internet by using a laptop, iPad or Android, Web-enabled mobile device like an iPhone, and even more likely, a combination of all of the above. When they come to visit, they will have specific questions based on all of the information they have gathered, and they will want amenities and features that are quite a departure from your current, standard apartment fare like Wi-Fi, cathedral ceilings, limited floor plan options and possibly an outdoor pool.

 

The multifamily housing industry is buzzing about what the next generation will be keen to, and word is that includes:

  • Smaller apartments—single occupancy is in and three-bedroom family units are out. Renters are looking for spaces that are useful to them, not a front sitting room they’ll never use. Getting the largest apartment they can afford isn’t a priority; finding a space that fits their needs like a glove is what they are after.
  • Customizable apartments. This generation likes to put their personal signature on their surroundings and not be limited to the eggshell palette of wall colors typical to many properties. They want to choose their paint color and even be able to adjust floor plans through the use of flexible or sliding walls. Through the use of robotic walls, smaller apartments can now have multiple functions with a touch of a button. MIT is providing the technology for these transformable environments that meet the popular need for spaces that can serve as the home and the workplace.
[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LkkCEBU4Q8 433x300]
  • Multifunctional apartments. If, for example, an apartment has high ceilings, that extra space is possibly befit for a lofted bed. Fixtures can be built directly into walls and ceilings, and underused spaces—like stairs—can be used for storage space.
  • Paying rent and making service requests online.
  • 24/7 accessible, well-equipped and maintained fitness centers.
  • Free Wifi.
  • Utilities included in rent.
  • Stainless steel appliances

 

In the multifamily industry, we know its important to keep one ear on industry chatter and findings and another on getting input from your renters and prospects. To getting a more definitive understanding of what trends you can expect with the next generation, we continually survey them through email, social media channels and face-to-face.

 

By: Brenda Welch, Marketing Manager at For Rent Media Solutions 

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