By Sandy Garner, Harcourts The Garner Group Real Estate
Many marketers have tried to pigeonhole the millennial generation into a series of descriptors, making generalizations about 80 million people that may or may not be true. One thing most agree on is that this generation is passionate. Passionate about causes, lifestyle choices and living the way they want. This spills over into their real estate market activity as these late 20- and 30-somethings seek the types of housing choices that work specifically for them. (Surprise! They aren’t the only ones. Older generations that can make new choices are deciding to live much differently than they did while younger.)
We’re seeing more and more people choosing lifestyle. This is a broad concept. Millennials are stepping back and looking at their parents’ decisions and making a conscious choice to live differently. Generally (yep, here’s another generalization), this generation purchases a home that they can afford so that they can continue to live the lifestyle they want, based on their passions. Whether it be extra money for travel or extra money to purchase “cause-based” products (sustainable, local, charitable), this generation is saying “I know how I want to live my life.”
That said, this isn’t the only age group that is shifting the real estate paradigm. Empty nesters and even young families are also choosing lifestyle when it comes to a home purchase. This includes the tiny home – shaking off the trappings that tie one down – which requires little maintenance while also being affordable and sustainable. The book that was all the rage the last couple of years, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Japanese author Marie Kondo, translates well to the tiny home concept – downsizing by eliminating everything that doesn’t bring joy. The people I know who live in tiny homes have an expansive sense of freedom – one pair of shoes, no clutter and a simple lifestyle. Whether these homes be in an urban setting or on acreage, the appeal for any generation is that, in a world filled with “things” and rampant consumerism, many are turning to simplicity.
And it isn’t just a tiny home trend. Choosing “lifestyle” when it comes to where you live means different things to different people. During the recession we saw a decline in the sale of acreage and horse properties in our rural areas. Now, there’s a resurgence of interest in these types of properties. People are seeking that country lifestyle, and perhaps even farming and growing their own food. Others are making the decision to do this without any acreage at all, as many homeowners are taking “local” to a whole new level and growing food (and housing chickens!) in their urban, mid-town yards.
REALTORS® can take a lesson from this marketplace shift. Buyers are becoming very thoughtful about their home purchase decisions. With the rising economy, low unemployment rate and advent of better paying jobs in many areas, everyone from the up and coming powerful millennials to the ever-influential boomers has more opportunity to choose lifestyle. Identifying and marketing the lifestyle elements – whatever those may be (think green, sustainable, simple, space and more) – to reach the heart of the buyer is becoming increasingly important.
How well do you speak lifestyle?
Sandy Garner has held an Oregon real estate license since 1979 and has earned many regional, national and international sales awards over the course of that period. She was top producing residential agent in Oregon for five consecutive years and rated among the top one per cent internationally for over a decade. Sandy has earned certification by the National Assn. of Realtors as a Graduate, Realtor Institute (GRI) and Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR).