According to a 2022 report from the National Association of Realtors, Millennials are now the biggest real estate buyers, making up 43% of home buyers. It’s a trend that everyone saw coming; Gen Xers and Boomers had to pass the generational torch at some point.
However, not everyone in the industry was ready for the way millennials are buying homes. The same report indicates that the vast majority of those millennial buyers found their homes on the internet. The first generation of “digital natives” is upending the old structure of the industry, embracing innovative technologies, prioritizing new modes of communication, and demanding consumer-centrism in an industry once dominated by agents.
Naturally, these tech trends are reshaping real estate. Below, let’s explore a few millennial tech trends – and what they mean for consumers and practitioners.
Online Shopping and the Marketplace of Choice
Through every step of the real estate buyers’ journey – from finding an agent to reviewing listings and booking appointments – millennials prefer to be online. It makes sense. Searching for agents and properties online allows consumers to better evaluate their choices and take an active role in the process. Research from McKinsey backs this up: most millennial consumers are value-driven, budget-conscious and brand agnostic.
This partly explains the rise of Nobul, a digital marketplace founded by Regan McGee, where real estate agents compete for a consumer’s business. Speaking with Toronto Life, McGee explained that “I want to help the millions of people who buy and sell real estate across North America have a good experience and not feel like they’re being ripped off. I want them to feel like they have an outstanding partner in the biggest transaction of their lives.”
Real-Time Collaboration and Instant Messaging
A 4,000-strong survey into millennial communication habits found that 73% of millennial Americans communicate more digitally than in-person.
As expected, this shift in communication preference impacts consumer-practitioner relationships. Millennials want real-time collaboration rather than waiting on a phone call or email notification. There’s a level of personalization and intimacy that accompanies instant messaging, which millennials prefer in a trusted representative.
Openness to Emerging Technologies like Big Data and Blockchain
Harris Polls and CNBC report that millennials (even older millennials advancing into middle age) keep pace with technological advances. Rather than hang their hat on the technologies they know and are comfortable with, millennials will actively embrace cutting-edge emerging technologies.
This phenomenon helps explain the increasing adoption of blockchain in real estate, which allows for fractional ownership and tokenization. (It helps, too, that millennials own the largest share of crypto). Millennials have also embraced VR and AR (with home showings and staging) and machine learning and big data (in home valuations).
Millennials only recently ascended to the top of the real estate pyramid, and you can expect their tenure to last several years – perhaps longer. For those in the industry, remaining successful in the “millennial real estate era” means embracing consumer-centric marketplaces, streamlined modes of communication and emerging technologies.