RISMEDIA, June 15, 2009-Over the next several years all real estate markets will begin to feel the effects of the Millennium Generation’s presence; many major urban markets already have. Born in 1978-1987 (now 22-31 years old), Millennials number 72 million strong in the U.S. and 2 billion globally – an increasingly powerful economic force. For many real estate professionals, a substantial part of future success will depend on successfully adapting sales and marketing strategies to fit the needs and desires of this new wave of first-time buyers. Although stereotypes seldom fit any individual perfectly, clear trends exist which have direct bearing for real estate professionals.
Fast Paced and Tech Savvy
This group has no recollection of the “BC era” – before computers. They grew up with video games, the Web and have enjoyed access to information on a scale which was unimaginable to prior generations. The result? They move fast and expect the same of others. Texting and emails by cell phone is second nature to them. If you intend to serve this group, you need to be highly accessible and quick to respond. If you have a minimal web presence you may not be noticed – the group thrives on social networking, online classifieds, blogs, etc. Virtual tours are a must for listings – YouTube is a hobby for this group.
Confident and prepared
They know how to locate information and are used to doing research – the web is their playground. They will likely know information on comparables, school districts, etc. so don’t assume that providing such baseline information will be perceived as highly valuable. Although you will always need to be prepared to cover the basics, it may be more important to be prepared to discuss issues like proximity to public transportation, shopping/entertainment centers, heath clubs, etc.
Tastes and priorities differ
Unlike prior generations, a home in the suburbs on a half-acre lot is not currently, and may not be in the future, a dream destination for the Millennium Generation. Instead, condos and townhomes which are close to work, shopping and entertainment currently dominate their preferences. “Wired,” close to public transportation, flexible living space, green and low maintenance are also strong themes among the group. Success with this new group of buyers will require many agents to adapt their thinking and approach. One-third of the Millennium Generation are minorities. So adapting to diverse styles, backgrounds, tastes and needs will be a key for future success.
The good news is that a large and powerful group of first-time buyers will soon rapidly emerge. The challenge will be that, like each successive generation, they will represent a somewhat different set of values, needs and desires than prior generations. And those differences represent both an opportunity and challenge for real estate professionals.