The Skinny on Gen Y

The December issue of Units, published by the National Apartment Association, includes an article about Gen Y renters. Written by Jay Parsons of MPF Research, the article points out some interesting things you might not know about your new target audience.

What is Gen Y, anyway? Basically, the term refers to anyone born between 1980 and the millennium. Because your 29 year-old renter, her 20 year-old college-going brother, and their 12 year-old cousin are all Gen Y-ers, tastes and trends will vary quite a bit within the generation. But there are some characteristics which can be applied to the group as a whole:

  1. Diversity: According to the Pew Research Center, 39% of Americans in their twenties are Hispanic, African-American, or Asian. When combined with the wide age range of Gen Y-ers, we’re looking at a generation of people who have varied wants and needs when looking for housing—much more varied than the Baby Boomers.
  2. The Urban/Suburban Split: While Gen Y-ers in their twenties are generally looking for walkable urban communities, they’re likely to prefer renting a single-family home, when available, after they start a family (a conclusion supported by the 2010 Census).
  3. Natural vs. Forced Interaction: While Gen Y-ers do want to live in rentals with a strong sense of community (where “natural interactions” are fostered), they would prefer not to have to personally interface with a leasing office or agent (a “forced interaction”). When it comes to communicating with the management company, online communication is nearly always preferred.
  4. Bandwidth Required: According to J Turner Research, 25% of younger residents have three or more internet-ready devices, and 64% of those asked said they would relocate rather than live with slow or sub-par internet service.

Jay Parson’s full article can be read here. How is the latest wave of Gen Y renters changing the way you do business? Weigh in below.


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