14 real estate trends Gen Z buyers are looking for
Baby boomers and millennials have dominated the homebuying conversation in recent decades, but a new generation of homeowners are browsing online listings, heading to open houses and planning their homebuying budget.
Generation Z – born between 1997 and 2012 – is making waves in the market with their approach to home buying. Here are 14 real estate trends that Gen Z buyers won’t miss.
1. Smart home technology is not optional
Generation Z represents the first generation of true digital natives. This group has grown up with technology and expects their homes to be equipped accordingly.
Gen Z homes should come standard with smart home technology, such as smart thermostats, motion-sensing security systems with notifications, and lighting and environment controls that can be adjusted from a mobile phone. Voice assistants, like Alexa or Google Home, are also a plus.
Generation Z is the mobile-first generation, so all technology must be optimized for their devices. This applies to marketing homes available on the market. To capture the attention of Gen Z, make sure there are options to connect digitally and that virtual home tours are available upon request.
2. Generation Z likes to stay close to home
With the continued trend of remote work and less desire for long commutes, Gen Z buyers are moving to homes in walkable communities with nearby amenities. Full- and part-time remote workers in this generation may go to smaller homes near coworking spaces or business facilities.
3. Generation Z wants a separate space for businesses
The one thing Gen Z likes to keep behind closed doors is their work. For those who work remotely full-time and can’t take advantage of a coworking space, having a dedicated home office is a must. A home office doesn’t have to be expensive, but being able to close the door on your workspace when the day is over is essential for a generation striving to achieve a proper work-life balance.
4. Generation Z prefers an open floor plan
Generation Z loves the flexibility that open floor plans offer, and they feel good about their homes when they are open and spacious.
5. Outdoor space is important
Another side effect of the pandemic is the desire for outdoor space that is functional and comfortable. A balcony, patio, terrace or deck is a big draw for a generation that views these spaces as a place to relax, entertain and maintain a small garden.
6. Sustainable, energy-efficient homes are not optional
Generation Z buyers are prioritizing eco-friendly and energy-efficient homes. This generation wants to save money on utilities, but they also want to do what they can to be kinder to the environment.
Gen Z buyers will look for homes with solar panels and energy-efficient appliances and finishes. Bamboo flooring, recycled glass countertops, and energy-efficient windows are all attractive incentives for Generation Z buyers.
7. Inclusive communities matter
Generation Z is not like previous homebuying generations, who valued homogeneous neighborhoods of like-minded people. Generation Z values diversity and inclusion. They want their neighborhoods to reflect their values, and are likely to look for vibrant, multicultural areas with a mixed socioeconomic population.
As a result, you may be more open to neighborhoods in transition or those managed and improved by community organizations.
8. They need more affordable housing
Although Generation Z buyers are mentally prepared to become homeowners, the financial challenges associated with purchasing a home are real. Although some enterprising, lucky Gen Z homebuyers locked in at incredibly low mortgage rates during 2020 and 2021, those who weren’t ready to buy now will have to contend with interest rates as high as 8%.
In addition to high interest rates, low housing inventory means homes are still expensive. Thus, Generation Z buyers may be open to alternative types of housing that their parents and grandparents shunned. Tiny houses, shared living spaces, and co-housing arrangements are ways to reduce the cost of homeownership, as well as negotiate a real estate agent’s commission.
9. Generation Z prioritizes aesthetic appeal
Generation Z is among the most motivated and visually stimulated generations. They love a beautiful space, and believe that the visual aspect of their home reflects their identity. Homes that are visually unappealing may not be of interest to Generation Z, so agents must help these buyers see the possibilities of renovating and redecorating to fit their personal aesthetic.
10. Easy renovations are key
For spaces that may not be immediately attractive, Generation Z wants ones that can be easily renovated. They appreciate move-in ready homes that can be updated with fresh paint, new flooring, and modern fixtures. They are not necessarily interested in a property that needs a complete renovation.
11. Flexible design is important
Flexible design goes beyond rooms with multiple functions or a layout that can be easily changed. Think about walls that can be knocked down or added without a lot of fuss.
12. Generation Z will move to the right home
Like their Millennial predecessors, Generation Z is ready to move into the right home. These moves are usually to more diverse coastal cities with good job opportunities and walkability, but many in this generation are also moving inland to well-designed, affordable communities.
13. Generation Z buyers are more educated
When it comes to education to buy a home, it’s not the college degree that matters. Generation Z is very comfortable and savvy in the digital landscape, making these buyers some of the most educated customers. They know how to navigate virtual open houses, manage electronic documents, and handle complex Internet searches. They come to agents who know how to find and view homes, but they still have questions.
14. Generation Z wants career guidance
Even with their digital capabilities, Generation Z knows that home buying is a complex, and sometimes stressful, task. From securing the mortgage to handling the closing, the entire process is fraught with potential roadblocks. That’s why this generation is not afraid to ask for help. They are looking for affordable real estate professionals who understand them and their needs.
Luke Babich is CEO and Co-Founder of Clever Real Estate.