The trends of the lease-up landscape have shifted to “empty-nesters”—and not just baby boomers looking to downsize. Millennials, those born between 1980 and 2000, have staked a claim in the market demand for apartments. In response, lease-up offerings have shifted over the past 10 years to accommodate the preferences of these diverse “digital natives.”
1. It’s the finer things of life. According to Brian Toomey, director of acquisitions, Banner Property Management, members of the millennial generation grew up amidst the custom finishes, top shelf materials and private luxury bathrooms of their parents’ suburban homes. And although they still crave these high-end touches, millennials can’t afford the high-end price tags, turning instead to apartment rentals. Hence, lease-up developers must design units that feature quality finishes and incorporate leading design trends. Farewell, linoleum.
2. It’s all about the lifestyle, too. Millennials love life and love to live life. They loathe to waste time commuting to a job or—worse—tending to yard work, moments that could otherwise be invested in experiences and relationships. In response, the demand has skyrocketed for apartments located within a short drive, bus ride or bike ride to major employment hubs. Forty-five minute commutes are a relic. Farewell, drive time.
3. And it’s all about commitment—or the lack thereof. Millennials experienced firsthand the real estate market upheavals that wreaked havoc on their parents’ financial standings. As young professionals, members of this generation are more apt to rent their first living spaces right out of college than to scrap and save for a home. Farewell, mortgages.
What does this mean for marketing and PR in the real estate industry?
1. Feature the features. It’s a given that marketing communication strategies for apartments should highlight the amenities. More attention, however, should be invested in showcasing the distinctive design elements of a unit. Craft creative tactics to spotlight custom finishes and quality lifestyle offerings that welcome the millennial buyer as a VIP guest in an upscale apartment.
2. Go the distance to show the distance. Create clever ways to emphasize the accessible commute to nearby employment and lifestyle options. The Lincoln Apartments, one of Raleigh’s newest upscale complexes (and a Clairemont client), is grand opening its luxury development this fall in the heart of downtown Raleigh. Through a creative Instagram account dubbed “The First Lady of Lincoln,” Lincoln and Clairemont staff are showcasing the “Lincoln Lifestyle.” These first-hand snapshots capture downtown Raleigh’s trendy restaurants, festivals, entertainment venues and cultural hotspots–all a short walk or bike ride from the Lincoln’s front door.
(PS: Give it a gander! Check out the “Lincoln Lifestyle” and downtown Raleigh on Instagram at @FirstLadyLincoln!)
3. Live life with them. This tip is beget from years of research + experience + aw, heck, I’m a millennial (sort of). Millennials shudder at overt marketing messages. Since we’re busy digging through paperwork to ensure we haven’t been hoodwinked by legalese, transparency becomes a legitimate PR strategy. Be genuine. Showcase the warm, accessible side of your company—from the quirks of your personable staff to the fun at your company’s parties. Transparency goes a long way to forge trust with the millennial generation as it chooses its first home after graduation.
What tips would you add to this list?