For a while, every single article was about Millennials. And I’m barely exaggerating. Millennials were eating too much avocado toast. (Um, it’s delicious!) They were killing the wedding industry. (It’s smart to get settled in your career first!) Apparently, Millennials even destroyed mayonnaise! (You know what? Not even sorry for this one. Mayonnaise is disgusting!)
Articles about Millennial renters were especially common. What were they looking for in an apartment? What amenities did they want? Were they really that different from Gen X and Boomers when it came to renting?
Well, as crazy as it sounds, while Millennials are still renting, the people in this generation are now 25 on the young end, and 40 on the older end.
There is even a term for those Millennials who were born in the early ’80s: Geriatric Millennials.
Which, first of all, how DARE you!
(I was going to post that gif of Mindy Kaling’s character Kelly from “The Office” saying that, but apparently now Gen Y is saying it’s “uncool” to use reaction gifs. Sigh.)
But, second of all, that means that many of the “more mature” Millennials are starting, or have started, families and are no longer wanting to rent. According to Forbes.com, in 2015 7.6 million Millennials were homeowners. While Millennials currently still make up the largest group, in 2018 Gen Z represented 6 percent of renters, and that number continues to grow.
All that is to say: Now is the time to turn your eye to Gen Z renters!
WELCOME, GEN Z RENTERS
The oldest members of Gen Z are currently 24. That means if Gen Zers aren’t renting yet, they will be soon. (Student housing communities should already be taking note!)
So, what do Gen Z renters want? (Ha! How do you like them apples? That’s right, a taste of the medicine Millennials dealt with, plus a reference to a movie from 24 years ago, plus a link to a reaction gif! Being cool is overrated.)
WHAT DO THEY WANT?
Like, well, everyone else right now, Gen Z wants good Wi-Fi and high-speed internet access. But this generation grew up with the internet, and it is a non-negotiable for them. When they are looking for an apartment, they do Google searches and find reviews of the community—it’s important that you have good ones! But also, don’t just let negative reviews sit there. Make sure they’re answered and explained. And virtual tours are important as well (though the pandemic accelerated this trend for all prospective renters).
Authenticity is important. Show pictures of current apartments that are ready to rent, not just glistening pools. Though that isn’t to say they don’t want the bells and whistles. Make sure the units are upgraded—Gen Z will even pay for that.
Additionally, sustainability is important, as well as wellness features, such as electric car charging stations and bike storage.
As more Gen Zers come of renting age, it’ll be interesting to see what other trends they bring to the multifamily industry. And in general. But, please, leave our avocado toast alone.