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How Shifting Millennial Habits Will Affect the Rental Space in 2017

2016 will go down as one of the most fascinating years in history – from losing some of the most influential folks of our time, to the lowest levels of humanity being experienced in countries like Syria, to Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump in the western world. Through all the craziness of the year that was, some other notable things flew under the perceived radar. For example, this year, millennials officially became the largest generation on the face of the earth. If all the other occurrences of 2016 couldn’t do it, this sure highlights the mark of indelible change. Having ran a real estate tech company for the last few years, I felt compelled to address changes we see, occurring in the moving space, in 2017. Join me as I paint this picture…Millennial Themes to be Aware of:
  • We broke: Like no, really. The general feeling is that we’re renting for longer than our parents because we like living in cities and constant movement. This is all true. Very true, actually. We’re actually extremely averse to commitment (how do we cope: by owning more dogs than any generation, previously). This is all well documented. But, beyond the generalization of this, we’re also broke compared to our parents. The wealth of households 35 and under, compared to the preceding generation, is down by nearly 30%. Part of the reason we don’t lock ourselves into 30 year mortgages is often because we can’t.
  • Uber Errwhere: In line with us owning less things, you can throw cars into that mix, too. Today, 76% of millennials have a driver’s license. 30 years ago, 91% of people, at the same age, had a license.
  • Social media and its ties to cities: We’ve grown up snapping pictures on Instagram, being funny on Twitter, sharing our most vulnerable thoughts on Facebook, and giving folks a glimpse of our world on Snapchat. People – in close spaces – make memories. From face value, technology makes us think we can move far away and still be connected. But, what we note is that, engaging with social technology makes us desire to be with others, like ourselves, to make our social brands (that’s essentially what they are…) more appealing. That’s what cities bring us: people and things to do.
  • Gentrification is real. So real: Let’s take a look at New York, for example. Each of the last five years, Blacks and Hispanics have moved out at a higher rate than they’ve moved in. Whites, on the other hand, make up 61% of those who’ve moved to NYC in the same period. And, young Asians are in second place, as they continue moving to the hallmark city in record numbers.

7 Cities Millennials Are Moving to in 2017 that aren’t NYC, SF, or DC:

  • Philadelphia, PA – Good food, tons of schools, and rapid development catered to young people are responsible for this city’s growth. Oh, also look out for their tech scene too. Growth in millennials over the last decade: 41%
  • Arlington, VA – I know, I said no DC; but, whatever. Arlington has begun to develop its own flavor.  There’s just tons of young people, college students, etc. Although nights end at 1:30a, you’re assured a good time. Growth in millennials over the last decade: 9%
  • Baltimore, MD – People in Maryland need a little excitement, too. The titillating crime rates, sports, and seafood in Baltimore provide that. The number of educated millennials that have moved to Baltimore has increased by 90% in the last 5 – 7 years.
  • Seattle, WA – It’s hard to turn down a place with breathtaking views, nice weather, a great football team, and access to some of the most transformative companies of our lifetime (Boeing, Starbucks, Microsoft, etc.). Growth in millennials in the last decade: 11%
  • Austin, TX – Conjoin great bbq, with SXSW, an exploding tech scene, and more music festivals than you can imagine, and you get a hotbed of millennials. Growth in millennials over the last decade: 26%
  • Denver, CO – Weed, more budding tech, access to good jobs, great hikes, and a lot of bikes…It’s no wonder why millennials are moving here. Growth in millennials over the last decade: 35%
  • Detroit, MI – Don’t sleep on the motor city. Certainly, there are problems that we’ve noticed, from the outside. But, remember, pretty smart engineering minds live in and around the Detroit area. They’re making a tech comeback. The number of educated millennials has gone up by 7% in the last few years.

A Few Real Estate Tech Platforms Making Their Mark in 2017:

  • –  Rezi is a fully automated marketplace for apartment rentals servicing both Tenants and Owners. Their platform makes units instantly rentable and provides Owners with a digital property manager that operates on their behalf.
  • – Riley is a b2b platform allowing realtors to send personalized text messages that include the lead’s full name, the property address they looked at, and any other information provided. Furthermore, they allow you to create scripts that their concierges use as a reference when engaging with leads.
  • – (personal plug) WYL is a web platform connecting good renters to good home providers by using landlord reviews, verified tenant information, and – real time – available listings. They have 400,000 listings across the US (PHL & NYC featured the largest user bases) and reviews across 150 cities. They started in Philly and NYC, have been featured in TechCrunch, on MSNBC, Newsweek, etc. Visit the site and rate your landlord or property manager now.
After sifting through these, it’s clear – there are several perspectives to take into account when assessing all that is to come in the residential rental space in 2017: the macroeconomics of where things stand, societal changes in age, technological advances and expectations, and more. Each sector will play its part. The one things to note is that change is coming. We just need that money to come along with it.