Friday, September 21

Agents, sellers, landlords must adapt to meet needs of young brigade

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"Generation Z buyers and tenants will have their fingers on the pulse of what is happening in the property market."

This generation of buyers, when they are ready to buy, are likely to be more entrepreneurial with many in freelance, high-tech and professional jobs. This means they will have their fingers on the pulse of what is happening in the property market, says JP Ricketts, sectional title agent for Seeff City Bowl.

“They will be plugged into the latest news and trends and will be very smart about areas, prices and so on. Sellers and landlords must be mindful that with so much info, they need to provide the right product at the right price.”

Warren Emett, also with Seeff City Bowl, says generation Z members are likely to be smart with their money and will want to invest in areas and properties that will appreciate in value. “In South Africa we are in the early phases of high-rise apartment living, which is likely to accelerate for generation Z buyers and tenants. But affordability will be a challenge for this group, and developers will need to focus on ensuring they bring “the right products in the right price ranges to market.”

Craig Algie, an agent at Seeff Woodstock, Salt River and Observatory, says: “Affordability will be a real issue given that property prices rise quite rapidly in high-demand urban areas, which is where they are likely to want to live. At the same time, we are seeing the basic cost of living rising, which puts further pressure on young people when it comes to renting and buying. They are therefore likely to co-rent and possibly even co-buy in their first 10 years.”

Adrian Goslett says generation Z members are more used to face-to-face interactions than the generation before them, so agents will have to use videos, virtual tours and short texts rather than real life showings, coffee updates and phone calls.

“The advice for home staging is also going to shift. This generation is likely to prioritise smart home features and high-speed fibre internet connections over backyards and dining rooms.”

Rawson’s Tony Clarke says the market can stay ahead by:
* Investing in market research to pick up trends and better understand the target market.
* Being attentive to the needs of clients. 

Clarke also predicts that smart apps, videos and virtual reality tours will be used more when interacting with generation Z. Although these buyers’ needs may not be too different from what is the case now, their approach to securing property will be, says Paul Stevens, Just Property chief executive. This generation wants to access info easily, and they want it in bite sizes.

Data protection and privacy are increasingly on the agenda of today’s youth, so how the industry collects, uses and shares data must be considered.

“How they are marketed to will become increasingly challenging. Companies must gear themselves to present solutions at the time consumers are wrestling with pain points. The property ‘game’ is currently fragmented, with many role players in each transaction. It’s difficult to have a clear view of what is needed and who is accountable for progress. Simplicity is going to be the biggest commodity in the near future.”

While much is said about how to get a foot on the property ladder, collaboration in property ownership  is rarely mentioned. “Nomadic lifestyles are increasingly topical and this does not have to exclude property ownership. Well placed, early investments in property can create a platform for wealth generation that lasts a lifetime.

Thousands of buyers are aged 18 to 23 

This year 2 316 people aged 18 to 23 bought property, Lightstone data shows, of whom 1 774 bought full-title homes and 542 sectional title. 

Between 2008 and now, 65 197 adult generation Z members bought properties, Lightstone says. Most bought properties for less than R500 000 while about 18 000 paid from R500 000 to R1 million, about 5 600 bought for between R1m and R3m, and 335 for more than R3m.

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