The largest age group of renters are the Echo Boomers, the 72 million Americans now moving into the 18 to 30 range. These young people are looking for significantly different things than their parents’ generation and they are willing to pay extra to get them. Most of these renters are plugged into the internet through laptops, tablets and smartphones. The majority of them no longer require a phone jack for a home phone. The preferences of this new and important demographic have created new demands on landlords.
- Urban Settings: These young people do not favor long commutes to their workplaces, so properties that are near urban centers or employment hubs should emphasize their accessibility. A large portion of these young people do not own cars and may rely exclusively on public transportation or more environmentally friendly options such as bicycles. It is important to stress access to buses, bike routes and mass transit.
- Cultural Centers: Young people today typically spend a great deal of time socializing with friends at restaurants, shopping centers and bars, so they are looking for these establishments near their homes. Homes that can boast walkable distances to social gathering sites typically receive more applications than those in the suburbs. Many young people are willing to sacrifice larger apartments and homes for ones that are better located.
- Technology: Many young tenants live a good portion of their lives on the internet. It is essential that the internet service available to them be high quality and very, very fast. Many landlords are including Wi-Fi or high speed internet in the rent. Gadgets like remote access to heating and AC or security systems can be extremely attractive to this mobile generation.
- Environmentally Smart Features: Renters of all ages are extremely cost conscious, and they are looking for homes that are energy efficient. Many of these renters will pay a premium for properties that have environmentally friendly and cost effective appliances or other features.
- Safety: Many families who have been displaced by the housing bust are renting homes now. In order to attract more stable renters like these, it is important to incorporate features like security systems. Many families value camera systems and intercoms that permit parents to monitor the wellbeing of their children.
- Fitness Centers: Renters want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, so many are looking for state of the art fitness centers in their complexes or near their homes. Renters want to socialize in comfortable, aesthetically appealing gyms. Outdoor tracks for running and well maintained lawns and gardens can be key selling points. Pools are important social centers that allow residents to congregate or relax.
- Fewer Walls: Unlike older generations, the Echo Boomers are less concerned with segregating functions throughout the residence. Many traditional concepts like separate rooms for dining and recreation have dwindled in importance. Young people prefer open designs that allow flexible uses in all rooms.