Making Apartments Attractive to Millennials

At 80 million strong, Generation Y makes up a majority of our world’s population, surpassing Generation X by millions. Born between 1980 and 2000, Gen Y, also known as Millennials, has brought a great deal of change to the population.

Generation Y is the most racially diverse generation with people of color making up almost 40 percent of their population. They are also the most educated generation with one in five Millennials having a two-or four-year degree. Most of all, Generation Y is the first generation to grow up completely immersed in the digital age. With more than 75 percent of Millennials having at least one online social media profile, they’re often referred to as “Digital Natives.”

In order to draw in the largest number of potential tenants, investors, developers and property managers should highlight the development’s web-based conveniences, location to bustling city centers and sense of community through innovative amenities.

Digital Natives

The housing market is changing the way it normally attracts Gen Y tenants, who represent a strong tenant base as they are at the prime rental age. In order to attract these renters, property managers are moving online. Not only are owners establishing interactive websites with pictures, videos, floorplans and pricing, but Wi-Fi connection throughout the development has quickly become a standard feature. It is now also very common for residents to have the convenient option to apply and pay rent online rather than in person.

Additionally, Millennials place a high value on social media authenticity. As the article states, the “real you” must match the online version of the apartment personality. Begin by asking, “does your apartment building’s online presence match the actual experience once someone moves in?”

When apartments create online profiles to promote their residences, the social voice must be authentic or else Millennials will view it as a sales pitch. To shatter these concerns, apartments can leverage social in a way that creates an authentic brand voice and brings Millennials to the leasing office. For example, 33 Degrees North, a student-living complex steps from University of North Denton, ran a Facebook campaign and scavenger hunt encouraging potential residents to find the prize and bring it to the leasing office for a $25 gift certificate and a tour of the complex.

Similarly, property managers want to ensure that the online profile of their apartment community matches the real experience and expectations of the tenant when he or she moves in. It would be unfortunate to portray an apartment community that under delivers to the next generation of renters.

Headed to the Big City

Fifty years ago, most college graduates wanted to pursue the American dream by purchasing a home after finishing school. However, today more than 40 percent of recent college graduates move into an apartment in an urban part of town.

Communities in the city center will be more attractive to Gen Y renters for two reasons. First, many Millennials forego owning cars because of student loans or debt (the average debt for graduating seniors with student loans is $23,200). Second, a large percentage of Gen Y have an immense concern for the preservation of the environment and therefore prefer to live close to work and community in order to prevent further air pollution caused by public transportation.

Living close to the city center also draws a larger number of tenants who want to be close to retail and entertainment options within walking distance. For Millennials, long gone are the days where you live in a neighborhood and drive to a separate area for easy entertainment. This generation thrives on walkable daily errands and entertainment. It’s all about integrated living options and accessibility to the city center.

Creating a Community

Almost two thirds of Millennials leave home after they graduate college. Of that percentage, one fourth of those Millennials move 500 miles or more away from their family and hometown.

Far from what they’re accustomed to, Millennials search for residency where there’s a large sense of community and other residents who they share commonalities with. Multifamily Executive suggests creating a space where residents can gather and make newcomers feel like they’re part of the neighborhood. Offer residents incentives for referring potential residents, showing potential residents around the complex when they visit and helping them settle into their new home and community.

Another commonality amongst Generation Y is how they celebrate diversity and individuality. Creating a unique selling point within your development can attract Millennials to the uniqueness your complex offers as compared to others. Western Station in Fort Worth, for example, has a life size chess game set up on the lawn of their outside gathering area. The owners use the set as a key marketing piece when showing off the property.

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