The Millennial Generation and the Booming Rental Market

When young renters finish college, they are not necessarily driven by the prospect of settling down anywhere right away.

In fact the number of young renters who say they rent in order to have more flexibility in their future choices jumped last year from 16% to 19%, according to CNBC.

It is the ease of knowing if one had to relocate, the process would be less complicated that keeps the millennial generation in the market for rent.

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Though it is essentially cheaper to buy a home rather than rent, for many young Americans dealing with large student loans or loan debt, the idea of renting has become infinitely more appealing. No commitment to a mortgage, living space with built-in amenities and a landlord who takes care of upkeep and maintenance are basic variables in the formula for rental convenience.

Today’s young adults are not only delaying home ownership, but rather are delaying most life events that often parallel homeownership as well, including settled careers, marriage and children. The flexibility to be able to pick up and leave an apartment building or city for a job is now crucial for the millennial generation.

In the William Raveis Call Center, a division of William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage & Insurance that services consumers and clients during the real estate process, approximately 80% of inbound calls and 67% of incoming emails are for rentals. When a new rental comes on the market, there will be an immediate increase in emails and customers are teeming with anticipation to immediately speak to an agent and set up a time to view said property. It is because the rental market is such a popular one that it has also become a competitive one. This is because most consumers are not represented by an agent—rather they are performing the rental research on their own.

Due in large part to this shift, it is important for today’s agents to build rental relationships with millennials, and, arguably, the most effective way of doing that is through social media. According to Crowdtrop and Ipsos MediacT, millennials spend an average of 3.2 hours a day on social media sites, giving agents plenty of opportunities to grab their attention. In order for agents to be successful with their social media strategies, it’s important to recognize what works for the audience their trying to reach. In the case of millennials, these tactics can include:

  • Hold contests. Everyone loves getting free stuff—it’s definitely a good way to start off a business relationship
  • Support causes. The millennial generation is more socially conscious, and if they see you supporting a cause (such as the William Raveis Breast Cancer Fund) there is a bigger chance they’ll pay attention to your social media presence.
  • Use hashtags. When you post an interesting photo of a house for rent, use a clever hashtag that will catch the attention of potential renters.
  • Update regularly. You want people to be aware of your online presence, so make sure you are tweeting at least a few times a day and posting on other social media sites at least daily.
  • Be responsive. Don’t wait for responses to your posts, be sure to like and share other posts as well. You want to create a two-way-street of communication so you become easily approachable, and therefore someone to consider when it’s time for a real estate transaction.

How will the rental market change in the coming years? Some say the increase in renting could be more concerned with current economic realities, rather than a long-term shift in attitudes. Most admit they don’t know, and therefore can’t say which way the rental trend will go as young adults age and begin to settle down, and start families. Researchers are hopeful for a turnaround as the millennial generation breaks out on their own, states a new housing report released by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. The number of households in their 30s is expected to increase by 2.7 million over the coming decade, which should boost demand for new housing, the report predicts.

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