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What home buying means across generations

The idea of a home means different things to different generations - For Gen X it means a physical space but for Gen Z it is all about location and access

Moneycontrol Contributor @moneycontrolcom

Reeza Sebastian

Every industry has to evolve to stay relevant and make consistent efforts to connect with the consumers on various levels. The real estate industry must evolve too, to suit the wide spectrum of consumers across different generations. ‘How we sell?’ has changed in the last decade. Thanks to the social media boom, access to technology and information, consumers are more aware. This is an indication for us to change ‘What we sell?’ to make sure that we are catering to every potential consumer.

In this age of consumer analytics, a boon in disguise that helps us understand and cater to the requirements of the consumers, rather than presenting a one size-fits-all model. Conducting research on customer lifestyles, buying/spending behaviour and decision making process provides us with valuable insights that can be capitalized on.


Times have changed as it’s not just about the format of a residence anymore, people expect a healthy balance of work and life.

Different generations. But home is still an emotion

The idea of 'home' has become more personalised and compact over the years. It has meant different things for different generations. For the Gen X (1965-1979), home meant physical spaces, whereas for Gen Z (1995-2015) it is all about the location and its accessibility to things of interest. The essence remains the same, 'home' remains an emotion – the feeling of security, warmth and privacy.

We are now witnessing an amalgamation of all the generations with different preferences that have been nurtured from their individual social contexts. Baby Boomers (1944-64) do not think the same way as the Gen Z because they have more diverse palettes which are influenced by pop-culture, arts, music, lifestyle and political preferences.

Experts predict a surge in urbanisation, where more than 40% of the population is expected to live in urban cities by the year 2030. This might be due to the increase in buying capacity or raised expectations of the working professional. In conclusion, the market is full of opportunities if you know your audience. Every aspect of our facilities has been carefully designed to suit specific target audiences, keeping the emotional quotient in mind.

Changing Trends and Consumer Dynamics

Personality traits of each of the generation are different and a look at their preferences is eye-opening:

- The millennials are the first time home buyers while the Xennials opt for luxury living – this cohort comprises of approximately 55 percent of the population of about 556 million.
- The rental boom is a direct result of a wavering economy. With apps like Uber, Ola, Bounce and zoom cars have made the idea of “renting and saving”, a viable option.
- With 47 percent of the country’s working class being Millennials (1980-94), the real estate companies cannot ignore their requirements.
- The current generations of Xennials, millennial and Gen Z are leaning towards convenience, community and collaboration, giving rise to the sharing economy that prefer specialized asset classes such as co-living, co-working, affordable housing and student living.

- Senior living is another sector that is gaining traction. With capabilities to spend, Gen X and Baby Boomers are starting to prefer senior living communities which ensures proximity and access to specialised health care.

Numbers matter. What does the data say?

Understanding the demand, the real estate industry has to consistently understand the demand to evolve and adapt faster to cater to every generation in the coming years.

Research shows that there will be around 300 million elderly people by the year 2050. With less than 1% of the demand for senior living units available today, this industry will explode in the next coming years. The current hurdles facing this sector of consumers are social stigma, manpower and affordability. The real estate industry has to put forth efforts to facilitate this surge of seniors who will need housing.

Similarly, there is a demand of 37.4 million co-living spaces that will be required by Millennials - 42% of the total population by 2025. Designing spaces that are in close proximity to work, to suit their preferences and streamlining operations can help grow this sector at a significant speed to meet the demand.

Student living is a sector that will need 6.54 million beds for the growing population of students. This will also help regularise the unorganised PG sector for both working and studying class of consumers.

Research. reboot. re-align

The time is now to be inclusive of all generations and cater to their needs accordingly by using modern technology and research.

(The author is president, Residential Business, Embassy Group)



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First Published on Jan 13, 2020 01:05 pm
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