When it comes to the property market you’ve got to have a bit of sympathy for the Millennial generation. According to the Guardian newspaper not only are one in three never likely to own their own home but the up and coming Generation Z is now set to overtake them in the home ownership stakes. And let’s face it – the prospect of your younger sibling jumping on the property ladder before you do isn’t something many would relish.
But it’s the reality of the property market today, and savvy real estate marketers are only too aware of this changing wind. Therefore they’re evolving the marketing techniques used to target this very significant group of potential home owners.
Generation Z, or the iGeneration, are those born from the mid 1990s to the early 2000s and one of the most defining factors about this age group is that they’re the first to have never known a word without the internet, smart phones and social media.
They also have one huge advantage over the previous generation: that of living in an economy that’s far more conducive to that of home ownership.
According to a millennial survey carried out by the Financial Times, although nearly half stated that they considered themselves to be financially secure, over 50% said that they’d had to delay or forgo the purchase of a home due to debt or their financial situation.
Generation Z, on the other hand, are far more confident that they will become home owners, with a report from building society and mortgage lender, the Halifax, revealing that 59% of 18-21 year olds are committed to purchasing their own property, and a quarter of these fully expecting to buy their first house by the age of 25.
In addition, a further survey carried out by house builder Countryside, showed that 66% of this age range are already saving for a house deposit, and a massive 92% would like to take advantage of the government Help to Buy ISA scheme, and have opened an account to beat the new saver deadline of November 2019. If you’re unsure of how the Help to Buy scheme works, see the image below.
Compared to older generations Millennials are at ease with tech. But they can’t hold a candle to the natural way Gen Z seamlessly integrates it into their lives. Whereas the Millennial generation overuse phones and iPads because of the experience it brings, those youngsters snapping at their heels know only this medium for communication and its day to day influence in their lives.
Generation Z have got online research down pat, carrying out searches at the speed of light to discover what they need. So any real estate marketer looking to attract this group of home buyer has to tap into this skill.
With pretty much everyone having their phone on hand 24/7 it makes perfect sense that property apps have evolved to not only showcase houses for sale, but all other essential knowledge that savvy buyers will research during that all-important house hunt.
Both of these allow you to set up alerts so you can be among the first to know when a property meeting your requirements hits the market. Other house buyer apps that have appeared in recent times include OnTheMarket, Nestoria and Mitula, although none of these are yet to hit enormity of Zoopla and RightMove for sheer scope and number of property listings.
There’s nothing so current as using the power of influencers to attract prospective customers. And this massively increasing trend has already spread to the property market and is being used to great effect.
Photo sharing app, Instagram, is proving a game changer when it comes to buying and selling homes. In the information overload times in which we live, a quick house sale becomes far more likely if you can showcase a property to the extended audience of a social media influencer.
And for anyone who considers such marketing to be solely the domain of socialites and reality TV stars, then think again. Estate agents, and especially those who’re dealing with house buyers in the premium market, are embracing this form of advertising with zeal. Real estate marketers themselves are gaining multiple followers, and instances of housing developers seeking out influencers to promote their properties are on the increase.
Never in the history of marketing property for sale has the quality of pictures been so important. With more and more people viewing houses online as opposed to a physical brochure, creating aesthetically beautiful digital pictures is both cost-effective and influential in converting an online view to a real-time potential customer visit
House sellers and developers are getting evermore creative with their photography. Striking images of strategically lit night time views, aerial shots from drones, sunrise and sunset images. The competitive nature of all home sales – from entry level to those of a million pounds plus – means that mediocre house photos simply won’t cut the mustard any more.
With today’s house buyer focusing on the whole essence of the property and the lifestyle it will bring them, the use of great shots showcased on social media is a brand new marketing ploy. Such platforms allow images to do the selling and, as the saying goes, ‘really are worth a thousand words’.
Another big advantage of such social media advertising is the ease of connecting with prospective customers, answering questions, creating trust and providing advice to both mortgage and cash house buyers. Communication via such social media is now accepted as the norm, and provides a super-fast method of answering queries in real time – something that’s vital in our increasingly time constrained lives.
With Gen Z being so wired into technology it makes perfect sense that they’d like this to extend to the place they live. With this in mind, many property developers are integrating various ‘smart’ aspects into new builds.
Below are 4 common smart home gadgets many homes use today.
1) Heating Controls: Heating controls that work alongside your smart device so you can manage your property’s temperature control on the go.
2) Smart Door & Window Locks: Key-less locks mean shutting yourself out is a thing of the past, and you can also monitor exactly who’s allowed in and out of your home.
3) Smart Audio Visual Systems: Smart audio visual systems are one of the first things Gen Z will think of when it comes to smart controls. The ability to integrate speakers, the TV and everything to do with your music system and control it with your voice or smart device is extremely appealing.
4) Lighting Controls: Lighting controls that you can control from your phone or tablet. A great security asset as you can turn lights on remotely so an empty property appears inhabited.
Online reviews are playing a larger and larger part in real estate marketing. Generation Z know that the best advertisement for any purchase is genuine feedback from previous customers. Because of this many estate agents now provide space for comments from customers. Failure to do so simply means unhappy customers will find other avenues to express their views, so it’s pretty much professional suicide not to provide the opportunity.
London estate agent giant Foxtons really put effort into their reviews and are a prime example of showcasing what their customers have to say about them. It goes without saying for firms that buy your house right now, its even more important that they can demonstrate fair, 3rd-party reviews.
Another seemingly smaller, but still very crucial, marketing consideration for real estate marketers is that of a mobile specific website. According to Statista, mobile browsing accounts for nearly half of all website browsing. And this is certainly driven by the reliance of the younger generations to use their personal device to view pretty much everything, from checking out the latest on Love Island through to the serious business of house hunting.
Mobile friendly images and content aren’t only important for viewer ease, Google and other search engines actively penalise websites that aren’t mobile-optimised. So not only have property marketers developed phone and tablet versions of their websites to provide a better user experience, but also to ensure that they feature on that vital first page of an online search.
With Gen Z imminently poised to outnumber Millennials on a global scale this leads to an increasing target market that’s either at an age to purchase property or soon will be. Marketers of all products, not just real estate, are looking for ways to tempt this soon-to-be very significant proportion of buyers.
According to a 2015 report from Ernst & Young – Rise of Gen Z: New Challenge for Retailers – this generation has significantly different priorities than their slightly older forerunners. They’re reportedly more self-aware, less selfish and place a greater emphasis on their role in the world. This different outlook on life means that such purchasers have different priorities, and therefore alternative methods of trading endeavors have become necessary.
In regards to how the property industry has evolved their marketing efforts, they’ve had to take into account the factors that drive this up and coming buying demographic to make a purchase. As more and more Gen Z leave education and enter employment their ability to own a home will increase. Therefore we can expect property developer and estate agent marketing to continue this evolution in order to keep up with the latest targeting trends.
And with Generation Z’s aspirations to become home owners only set to become more voracious, so we can also expect those who sell property to become increasingly creative in such generation-specific marketing.