Millennials: what do they want in a property?

The term ‘millennial’ has been used a lot in the last fifteen or so years. As this cohort has finished their education, whether secondary or tertiary, and entered the workforce, they have behaved very differently to past generations. Many of the old hobbies and lifestyles that we assumed would be everlasting have been turned on their heads, shunned by this group in favour of other interests and priorities.

Why does it matter? With many millennials now looking to enter the housing market, it’s worth knowing what features are appealing to them. If you’re a renovator, it means you can snap up properties, make the appropriate changes and put the houses back on the market to secure your profit. Alternatively, if you’re a property investor, you can look for properties that might be attractive to millennials and purchase them now for short to medium term holding. Hey, maybe you just want to know what’s so different about millennials compared to their forebears. Curiosity is always good!

If you’re not au fait with the millennial crowd, it’s okay. We’ve put together a list of some of the common traits of millennials, and how they might play in to their property choices.

First of all: who are the millennials?

Although we may never reach full consensus on the year range, a millennial is generally someone born between 1980 and 1995. Like the large age cohorts before them, such as Generation X and the Baby Boomers, there are some features that are generally considered common to people born between these years. Of course no group of people can be summarised with any guarantees, but a lot of analysis has been done on millennials in particular.

One feature of millennials is that they are very focused on their careers and career stability. Without getting too bogged down in the details, wage stagnation and increased requirements to be competitive in the work force, particularly the need for tertiary qualifications, has delayed their financial stability. This has resulted in millennials generally marrying later, or not at all yet. People are settling down later and having children later. If they have kids, they are having fewer children than before. There are lots of reasons for this, but what it means is that their housing needs when entering the market are different to previous generations.

What a millennial wants

Millennials who are looking to enter the property market now are more likely to be single, or be in a relationship with dual incomes. It’s less likely that they have children, and if they do, it’s likely that their family is still young. This means that they don’t need a four-bedroom mansionette. This is probably just as well for them, as their general preference of living in more urban or densely populated areas means that they’re possibly less invested in own a freestanding home. They want the ability to choose what their space is used for: they might want a gym, or they might want a home office. They need to be shown how easily the house can be customised to suit their lifestyles, and also their whims and interests.

Sustainable living

Millennials have entered ‘adult life’ quite late, and now they want to make sure that they are aware, environmentally conscious property owners. This means that they want properties built with sustainable materials where possible, and additions to their house that make it more environmentally friendly. Some examples might be water tanks (and pumps so that they can connect a hose and water the garden more easily) and solar panels, maybe even a solar hot water service. It can also include things like smart design to maximise natural heating and cooling, as well as insulation to reduce emissions. Obviously these may not always be an option, but think about them when you’re showing houses for sale towards a millennial market as well: that dripping tap is more than just an annoying sound to them!

Connectivity

As most properties aimed at millennials will be in built-up cities, this is less of an issue, but if you’re looking to try lure millennials to a regional or rural property, you might want to think about connectivity. In this case, you need to think about internet types and speeds (and whether or not they’re actually available at the property, as there are many bottlenecks to internet service provision), and also mail convenience. Does the property use a roadside mailbox? How close is the nearest post office? Millennials have grown up ordering things online, and the thought that they might have to drive half an hour each way to pick up their parcel may make a property less attractive to them.

Proximity to amenities

Millennials are still young and most likely going to work every day. As such, they want to be near their place of work, as well as other amenities like parks, shops and entertainment venues. Doubly so if they work from home.They’re possibly looking to minimise commute times where possible, and looking to be nearer to public amenities that they use regularly, such as dog parks or running tracks.

Places out in the country, while still popular, are typically for people whose lives are starting to slow down a little. They see the value of being away from the noise and aggravation of the city, and they’re willing to travel a little further to get there if it means they have quieter days. Most millennials aren’t at this stage of their life yet, but if they are, chances are they still want to be within a ten-minute drive of a café with a decent coffee.

Outside entertaining

As entertainers, people want the opportunity to show off their cooking skills on the barbecue, their meat smoker, or even the outdoor pizza oven. As people in the millennial age bracket are more interested in elaborate cooking and experimentation in the kitchen, an outside entertaining area can be a great selling point. Of course, if the property is in an area with a miserable climate or bad weather, this is less of a priority. But as an age bracket that is partying less and looking for more relaxed ways to mingle with friends and family, a good entertainment area is often a must.

At the end of the day, millennials aren’t weird creatures from a new planet. They’re just youngish people who have particular wants for the properties they purchase. They’ve had to work hard to get their deposit together, so they want to make sure that their house suits their needs and matches their values. So long as you know what those values are, you’ll be able to talk to them in a language they understand.