Millennials, Minimalism, and Real Estate: How a Younger Generation is Redefining Homeownership
Millennials are entering the real estate market in droves. However, many of them are looking for vastly different houses than the generations before them. Instead of sprawling homes with large yards and plenty of square footage, millennials are trending towards minimalism: spaces that are smaller and more efficient. As millennials look for homes, minimalism and real estate go hand in hand.
The minimalist millennial trend presents a threat for retail and real estate markets. Millennials are spending less, traveling more, and embracing a simpler lifestyle. For Realtors, the key to understanding millennials is to understand what’s driving this trend towards smaller spaces, and then market to a younger generation effectively.
Millennials and Real Estate
Millennials are now the largest demographic in American real estate and retail. As younger generations move into well-established careers, they are finally ready to buy their first homes. But millennials are purchasing smaller homes, closer to the city, with more energy-efficient amenities.
Nearly 88% of millennials now live in urban areas. Many are passing up tradition suburban homes for tiny houses, condos, or townhome living.
Why this trend towards smaller properties? One explanation is the recent trend towards minimalist living.
Millennials, Minimalism, and Real Estate
What is minimalism, anyway? Simply stated, it’s the lifestyle of living with fewer material possessions to focus more wholly and intently on the non-material things in life: relationships, hobbies and passions, and self-care. It’s not a strict lifestyle of living with only a finite number of items in a 300-square-foot van, never marrying or having children. Minimalism is on a spectrum. Some strict minimalists own only a handful of possessions. Still other young people only incorporate a few minimalist practices – like owning fewer material possessions, but still living quite comfortably. The idea is to place less importance on things and more importance on life.
Popular minimalist concepts like Marie Condo’s book (and the subsequent Netflix series) The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and popular documentaries and podcasts like The Minimalists have brought minimalist living to the mainstream. Millennials are drawn to a lifestyle that frees up time, space, and money to follow other passions like travel, starting a business, or enjoying the arts.
How Realtors Can Market to Millennials
First, it’s essential to understand what’s driving millennials to purchase smaller homes.
- Millennials want to own instead of rent. Owning a small home is better than renting a larger one. Millennials want a piece of the American dream, even if it’s a smaller piece than their parents owned.
- Affordability is a significant concern. Housing prices continue to rise, but salaries aren’t keeping up. Millennials grew up during the housing crisis, so they’re keenly aware of the risks associated with too-expensive mortgages. They’re choosing to live smaller, so they have more money to spend on other things.
- They want a more balanced life. Perhaps minimalism appeals to this generation because they have seen the extreme rise of consumerism in America, and they want to live differently. Instead of working to buy things, they are working to experience life.
With these goals in mind, Realtors must change the way they market to millennials. First and foremost, the younger generations are online. If you’re not engaging on social media or creating a mobile-friendly, easy-to-navigate website, you’re going to miss out. Here’s what you can do to engage a younger generation of homeowners:
Have a professional, mobile-friendly website. About 99% of millennials use the internet to search for a home. If your site isn’t top-notch, they’re going to notice. We make it easy to create a stunning website that showcases your business and available properties with Realtor-specific WordPress themes.
- Get engaged on social media. Millennials hang out online more than any generation before them. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are the prime spot for real estate agents to market themselves and their businesses. If you need a crash course in social media marketing, check out this article for more information.
- Create relationships. Millennials – especially those entrenched in the minimalist lifestyle – are all about authenticity. They’re more likely to choose a Realtor based on a relationship than on statistics. Network with other professionals and get to know younger people and their friends. Having personal interactions with millennials is the best way to market yourself.
As millennials trend towards minimalist spaces, real estate agents often struggle to catch up. When you understand the desires and goals of a younger generation, you’ll be better suited to help them find the ideal home.