By Katrina Creer
The generation that was famously criticised for wasting money on ‘smashed avocado’ are now saving hard to buy their first home, according to new research.
A survey by U-bank found that despite a tough year, 44 percent of Australian millennials list buying a property as one of their top two saving goals over the next five years.
“Despite 45 percent of the population admitting their finances have been negatively impacted in the last six months, we’re seeing millennials emerge as being quite resilient,” said UBank Executive, Philippa Watson.
The same was found in a worldwide survey by Deloitte who interviewed more than 16,000 millennials (those born between 1981 to 1996) and Gen Z (those born 1997 and Dec 2010). It showed that while finances are expected to be stagnant or worsen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, personal savings rates are up with fewer opportunities to spend disposable incomes.
Focus on the positive
Just like their great grandparents, research is also showing younger generations’ reaction to COVID-19 is not dissimilar to those who lived through the Spanish Flu or WWII.
Communications specialist Katie Iles from Hello Clarity, an agency specialising in analysing social change, said millennials and Gen Z are now seeking the security provided by steady employment and home ownership.
“Regardless of the pandemic, the great Australian dream of owning a home is very deeply entrenched in our cultural psyche and it doesn’t matter what generation you are in,” she said.
“All the media hype about it being out of reach and ‘smashed avocado’ has been unhelpful – so anything real estate agents can do to build a bridge between that narrative and the reality that homeownership isn’t out of your reach is a smart marketing strategy.”
This includes providing links and tips on social media or blogs and maintaining an active presence about how younger generations can enter the market.
Be available virtually
Meeting face-to-face can seem time consuming and even a little confronting for younger generations who are more used to texting rather than talking. Nicholas Viner, chairperson of the REINSW’s Buyer’s Agent Chapter said communication is key with younger buyers and often via a social media platform such as Instagram or WhatsApp.
“If you are not checking all parts of your phone now you might be missing some important messages,” he said.
“The old traditional approach was email and telephone calls whereas there are so many different ways to communicate and COVID has also bought that to the fore.”
Show long term potential
With younger millennials now starting families, there is a preference for property to come with some ‘future proofing’. Agents should highlight the ‘flexibility’ of a house or apartment and how it could be configured once a baby arrives. This may include having to convince the vendor to style the house in a particular way.
“Millennials want a home that looks beautiful but one that works for the different stages and seasons in life,” Ms Iles said.
“They will be looking for a home where they could have a party with friends now but also be suitable when they have a couple of toddlers running around – so they need to see that it is transferable.”
Maximise your social media presence
Property agents are also embracing technology to capture the millennial market including paid advertising through social media such as Facebook and Instagram.
Among them is Di Jones Real Estate who have seen strong results with both their online reach and engagement doubling since the pandemic.
Emma Williams, PR and Communications Manager and member of the REINSW said they utilise a centralised data base and artificial intelligence to build a unique audience for every listing. Their complex algorithm includes data such as suburb demographics, recent sales, open inspections attendees as well as online enquiries to create highly targeted online campaigns to reach the right audience.
“We have people who have only seen our properties marketed through social media – even though the home has been on Domain or REA,” Ms Williams said.
“We just use one ‘hero’ photo plus one sentence with address and a ‘learn more’ button and our average click through rate is 10 to 20 percent – anywhere from round 1,000 to 2,000 views on the property - for an insignificant marketing expense.”
Once a potential buyer engages with the advertisement, they will also receive future listings of similar properties for approximately the next 90 days.
“We won’t continue to serve them advertising on social media if they haven’t engaged with one of our ads within that period,” Ms William said.
Millennials’ journey into the property market won’t be quite like their parents but it is in their sights – not just something in the future but something achievable now.
“We need to be building bridges between the aspiration and the reality and that is where great marketing and relationship between agents and buyers will come into play,” Ms Iles said.