Satiating Gen Y’s technological tastes
It’s amazing how time changes things—what was once a commodious place to unwind and slow down from a busy day is morphing into a space efficient, Wi-Fi enabled hang-out, with unparalleled connectivity speeds to the outside world.
The fact is that today’s “Gen Y” renters are changing the game for today’s residential multifamily and student housing property owners. In an article written by Jennifer Chan of Zillow’s RentJuice on August 2, 2012, she states that the new wave of renters, many of which are college students or recent graduates, have a seemingly updated list of important factors when searching for a rental property—among these are energy efficiency and lax pet policy, but even more importantly, Wi-Fi connectivity.
There is no denying the technological transformation across the board, and that certainly includes the housing sector. Today’s renters are changing not only the way residential multifamily property owners market their properties, but how they outfit them, as well. Sites such as Craig’s List have made online advertising of available properties a must, and are slowly eliminating the need for more outdated ways of searching, such as the newspaper (I know, I didn’t realize this was still in print, either!). Social media is a force to be reckoned with, sweeping the rental market by storm. In an article by Sarah Gabot of RentJuice from February 8, 2012, she states that, “This generation, also known as ‘Millennials,’ consists of 70 million people born between 1982 and the early 2000’s.” She is referring to Generation Y, as I mentioned earlier, and I think it’s fair to say they, well, we, are a bunch of social media idealists. Many property managers are looking to reach this group on their terms, which of course requires having a solid social media presence. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all proving instrumental in transforming vacancies into occupancies.
But it doesn’t stop there; filling a space is only half the battle- retaining the renter is arguably more important. The market is taking a turn in desired amenities; in an article published in Good Magazine on February 7, 2012, Nona Willis Aronowitz writes, “Six in 10 people said they would sacrifice a bigger house to live in a neighborhood that featured a mix of houses, stores, and businesses within an easy walk.” While this statistic exemplifies one of the movements in the wants and needs of a modern renter, a property manager might be hard pressed in certain situations to make this a possibility—which makes including any accessible amenities even more important.
WiFi internet has become the most requested amenity anwhere—restaurants, gyms, offices, almost any and everywhere is WiFi enabled, even town greens are going wireless– and the residential multifamily industry is no exception! Trying to rent an apartment with no internet access would probably be harder than renting one without running water this day in age. In another article posted by RentJuice on February 7, 2012, Jennifer Chan includes a few enlightening facts from a J Turner Research study, sharing that 89% of students are doing their schoolwork online. She continues on, adding that from a survey of 10,000 college students, 64% would consider relocating due to low satisfaction concerning internet speed; 87% of those students are using the internet to maintain their social network accounts, while 56% are online for between 3 and 5 hours a day. When you consider these numbers it helps to put the importance of internet in perspective. Students, who are doing the majority of their work online, do not want to be restricted to their bedroom or dorm to do their work– they want WiFi connectivity throughout their entire property, and they want it seamless.
It’s incredible, the changes our society has undergone over the last thirty, even 10 years! Who would have thought we would be taking our tablets out for a walk in the Wi-Fi enabled park, along with our dogs? The internet certainly is a necessity, and it is undisputable that a property with high speed Wi-Fi access would rent faster than the same property without that amenity available, especially to today’s ever changing market of tech-savvy renters. Just some food for thought.