Sunday, April 30, 2017

Homebuilders Take a Cue from Retail: 3 Ways to Reach the Millennial Market

Millennials are the largest group entering homeownership in the US today. Savvy homebuilders and developers know these buyers have different needs and wants than the generations before them. Many saw their parents lose in the housing recession, and are not willing to settle and cram themselves into a home or community that doesn’t support the way they want to live. To succeed in this environment homebuilders and developers need to think differently about how to reach them.

As the CMO of the largest community developer in the nation, I track consumer sentiment about home buying carefully, and have found two articles that you will find interesting as you think about how to reach and what to build for Millennials.

Brian Croce, an Editor at Hanley Wood Residential’s BUILDER Magazine – the seminal industry publication – outlines the challenges in BUILDER Online that this customer group faces, from high student loan debt, to lack of available homes that meet their preferences and needs, while making the case for the growing optimism of Millennial homebuyers. Citing a recent Zillow survey, 65% of 18-34 year olds say owning a home is necessary to live a good life, and 73% say it provides more personal freedom. This, despite shifts from homeownership being a badge of honor for earlier generations, to something Millennials can take or leave in the sharing economy.

Natural, creative playgrounds create memory points and connect with Millennial parents 

In this article, in BisNowa publication focusing on trends and innovations in the real estate sector,  Patricia Kirk outlines how Millennial influence has transformed the retail industry.  Retailers who have remained “relevant” today know speed, convenience and custom individualism is essential to these buyers. These same trends are critical for homebuilders wanting to make sure the homes they are building will serve the evolving lifestyle needs of Millennial buyers. The question some builders may have is how? 

After reading these two articles, I’ve developed 3 action items that will help builders and developers hoping to appeal to the pent-up optimism of the Millennial homebuyer, with a retail frame of mind:

  • Focus on personalization: give Millennials innovative home and community designs that reflect how they live, no cookie-cutter designs
  • Think experience first: to Millennials, experiences matter more than stuff – give this “YOLO” generation ways to experience life the way they want 
  • Make community matter: localize, regionalize and create an authentic community for this craft-brew, maker-loving generation

Builders and developers who take time to think personal, experiential and community will win with Millennials as they re-shape how society lives, and

By Teri Slavik-Tsuyuki - I was CMO for Newland Communities for 10+ years and now share my perspective and insights through my customer experience and brand strategy consulting business tst ink. Follow me on Twitter