Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Generation Z?

I am a Gen Xer, that group of people born between 1965 and 1980.  We are characterized by parents who worked and divorced causing us to grow up early and have a lot of independence.  We saw a boatload of emerging technologies that literally changed the world:  fax machines, handheld calculators, cordless phones, video games, and desktop computers.  And we saw political and institutional incompetence:   Watergate, Three Mile Island, Bhopal, the Iranian hostage crisis, Iran-Contra and the Clinton-Lewinsky debacles mark the emergence of my generation.  We were the first generation that felt we weren't guaranteed a better life than our parents had.  We weren't sure we were going to get a better house or even if we would be able to afford a house at all.

After me is a generation call the Millennials or Gen Y's. These people were born between 1980 and 1994.  These folks are currently between the ages of 20 and 34 and are just emerging into the real estate market.  They are known for having high expectations with little effort on their part.  They are close to their parents, to the point of living with them even into their 30's.  And they tend to be opportunistic job hoppers. They have always known cable television, cellular phones, pagers, answering machines, laptop computers and video games. Technological advancements in real-time media and communication drive their expectation for immediacy.

It feels as though we are just getting a handle on this Millennial generation.  But we'd better start preparing for the next generation.  Being dubbed Generation Z (what will they call the generations after Z??), this group is still in their teen years.  What will home buying expectations be for this generation?

source:  dallasnews.com

According to Better Homes And Gardens Real Estate survey of Gen Z, teens of today have a solid head on their shoulders and have realistic expectations when it comes to home buying.  Maybe this comes from the ability to have vast amounts of information on anything at their fingertips 24/7.  They have blogs, news feeds, and many social media outlets where they can have access to the opinions of 1,000 of their closest friends at the tap of their thumb.  But they are still very traditional when it comes to ideas of future home buying.  Here are some of the stats:

  • 82% indicate owning a home is the most important factor in obtaining the American Dream
  • 97% believe that they will own a home in their lifetimes
  • They are willing to sacrifice to own that home including:  giving up social media for a year (53%), doing twice as much homework (53%), going to school 7 days per week (42%), and taking their mom or dad to prom (39%)
Today's teens have a good concept regarding finances and what it takes to get ahead.  They have seen their families struggle with the Great Recession and have learned about it in school.  As such they are already savers and have realistic expectations as to how much homes cost and what is financially required of them to own a home.

In terms of how they will buy a home, 95% believe they will go online to do much of their home buying selection, 29% believe they would use video chatting, but only 19% believe they would actually purchase a home online.  Despite their online savvy, 59% of these future homeowners expect to use the services of a real estate agent when selecting their homes.

According to Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. "Today's teens are fiscally literate and realistic when it comes to their future. It's quite profound that a generation that has never known a world without social media is willing to give up such a staple in their modern lives to achieve their dream home. With such mature insights at such a young age, Gen Z could very well be primed to be the next great generation."

Source:  Michelle Schwake for Stafford Family Resources

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