PROPERTY NEWS - This might be a bitter pill to swallow for Millennial readers, but this generation is no longer the youngest to enter the real estate market.
There are already some within Generation Z, those born between 1995 and 2015, who are about to trade in their student loans for bond applications.
"We have not yet dealt with too many Generation Z customers, as the oldest within this generation are just 23," says Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
"At this point in time, the interactions we've had with this generation are predominantly through our various rental agents, and even then, it's usually the parents who are paying for their student accommodation rentals."
He warns that this will put new demands on sellers and agents. "We know that the time for this generation to own property is but a few years away - and I predict that their emergence into the property market is going to cause some disruption to both sellers and real estate agents alike. Growing up in the era of snapchat and 15-second Instagram stories, this generation has even shorter attention spans than Millennials.
"Sellers are therefore going to have to ensure that their home creates instant appeal when a Generation Z buyer comes for a viewing. Likewise, real estate agents are going to have to ensure that the property's best features are presented first on listing portals, and that all corresponding marketing material gets straight to the point if they want to be effective in their marketing to this generation," he says.
"Born with a smartphone in hand, this generation also prioritises face-to-face interactions even less than the generation that came before them. It is therefore likely that agents are going to have to make use of videos, virtual tours and short texts rather than real-life showings, coffee updates and phone calls."
If this is the case, he says, sellers will need to adjust to the fact that less physical viewings do not necessarily translate into less interest in the home.
"Sellers who want to appeal to this market will also need to consider the preferences of this age group. It is likely that this generation will prioritise smart home features and high-speed fibre internet connections over other features within the home.
"Also, as delivery apps such as UberEats continue to develop, kitchens might slowly begin to lose their place as the main selling point of the home.
"What's more, Generation Z buyers might focus on aspects that make their property more appealing to the short-term rental and Airbnb markets so that they can still travel for parts of the year while paying off their home loan," Goslett predicts further.
Whichever way the market changes once this generation fully enters the equation, Goslett reminds sellers of the importance of partnering with a knowledgeable property professional who can guide them through the various current-day realities of selling their home.
"A reliable real estate advisor will be aware of whether Generation Z buyers are already looking within their suburbs and will advise their sellers accordingly," he says.
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