Hardly a week goes by without a sensationalist headline offering millennials unwanted and unhelpful advice on saving a deposit for a property. They should stop eating avocados or buying sandwiches. They should spend their weekends indoors without Netflix or Amazon Prime. Coffee and mobile upgrades are to be avoided.
Every piece of advice is geared towards what they must do to buy their own home, a goal which is out of reach for many. Research by the Resolution Foundation found that 1 in 3 millennials will never own a home, due to rising property prices, government policies, and limited supply.
PwC predict that by 2025 more than half of those under 40 will live in private rented accommodation. As most young people are expected to rent for the majority of or all their lives, we should, then, change our focus from what they need to do to buy a home, and address how they are changing the property and private rental sectors.
Millennials are the generation most likely to perform in-depth research before they commit to a tenancy. A process which is made easier and quicker by accessible online resources. Nationwide’s research concluded that 99% of millennials search online for a property, and 58% find somewhere to live on mobile devices.
So, what do ‘Generation Rent’ look for in a property? Aesthetically they’re looking for properties in a modern style, open plan spaces, with good internet and mobile reception. Technology can play a key role in attracting millennials, and make homes run more energy efficient, devices such as Smart metres, and mobile-controlled thermostats are invaluable.
Social changes play an important role in where millennials choose to let, especially: flexible working patterns, later family formation, and commuting preferences. Essentially, millennials want to live, work, and play in close proximity to enjoy a good quality of life. This doesn’t mean that they prefer to live in city centres, just close by or at a location with reliable transport links.
Millennials usually live in the same area for around 6 years. Currently, most tenancies are 6-12 months, meaning that millennial tenants must move from property-to-property to stay in the same area. This has sparked debate about the introduction of longer tenancies of 3-5 years, which are already the norm for purpose-built rental apartments.
Co-living is also popular amongst millennials, as it is often more practical and cost effective than living alone. Though, there are other benefits of shared accommodation, such as a reduced environmental footprint, and being able to socialise with those you live with.
Millennials are driving up property standards and changing the face of the market. Longer tenancies, smart technology, and incentivising and increasing the development of communal accommodation are changes that are beneficial to both potential millennial tenants, landlords, and investors.