Whether it's Generation Y, Millennials or Generation Rent — there are a variety of terms used to describe the young adults who are entering the property market, and for our industry they're the future of growth — but how will they shape the market and what does it mean for franchisees across the country?
If you're not sure when Gen-Y stops and Gen-X begins, then here's a quick definition of Millennials from Wikipedia:
Millennials, also known as Generation Y or Gen Y, are the demographic cohort following Generation X and preceding Generation Z. Researchers and popular media typically use the early 1980s as starting birth years and the mid-1990s to early 2000s as ending birth years.
With many having graduated with thousands in student loan debt, growing up with the rise of technology and importantly for us — increasingly struggling to buy a home, millennials require a completely different approach than their baby-boomer parents.
Research from the Resolution Foundation found that a third of Millennials could live in rented accommodation their entire lives and it's estimated that 90% of millennials currently in the housing market, rent rather than own.
You might be inclined to think that rising house prices are the reason for many being unable to buy and are 'forced' into the rental market — but this is not necessarily the case, many see renting as a way to stay flexible. This is a major benefit for letting agencies like ourselves and yet another reason to consider starting life as a business owner with Belvoir. Millennials often change job frequently after graduating and are less inclined to stay in their home town, with many looking to set up base in cities and climb the career ladder without restrictions of a mortgage.
So if we're living in the golden age of rental being attractive for young adults, what advice can we offer to keep portfolios attractive?
- These adults have grown up in a world with technology, whether it's streaming Netflix or catching up on Facebook — properties need to have great connectivity.
- Alongside the fall in house-buyers, many are choosing to focus more on careers than families and opting to bring a pet into their life which means that unfortunately to attract millennials, you need to offer pet-friendly rentals.
- The rise of veganism, climate-change awareness and the fight against plastic has made many of us, and in particular, this group, extremely eco-conscious — so putting emphasises on recycling and the energy ratings of a property could be beneficial.
With few signs that trends will change for Gen X, Z or whatever comes next — it's clear that despite the uncertainty of Brexit, Tenant Fee Bans and other regulation in the industry, with a whole generation who prefer to rent than buy, it could be argued that there's never been a better time to join the largest property franchise on the high street and become a lettings business owner yourself.