Gen Z are the future. They have to be, given that they represent the youngest generation in the property market and the cohort who will one day take over. Around the world, however, they are the least likely group to own their own homes, and many have all but given up hope of ever doing so.
With Australia’s property boom showing no signs of slowing down, there are plenty of reasons to think that the age categories of the average broker’s client base are likely to expand. However, the current surge in prices is skewed towards the upper end of the market and, naturally, that favours those who are already homeowners. In many cases, the young are priced out.
Get to know Gen Z
It is always important to understand who you are speaking to, and that is perhaps never more true than with Gen Z. As a demographic, they are historically unreceptive to blanket, mass-market communications and receptive to targeted, segmented content. This is the generation of TikTok and Instagram, more tech-savvy and digital native than any that has gone before them, and more willing to be marketed to, so long as the marketing matches their values.
That means that it is certainly worth investing the time and effort into getting the messaging right. This is a cohort that believes in political correctness and ‘woke’ culture, so make sure that you prioritise inclusivity and diversity in communications. Similarly, they value the medium as much as the message, so to accurately target them, make sure you are fishing where they are. That, of course, means online: this generation are more online than any before them.
Gen Z and homeownership
While almost everything about Gen Z seems to be new, they are still motivated by the same dreams and aspirations as every generation of Australians that predates them. The idea of homeownership and the freedom that comes with it are still strong, with the majority still aspiring to at some point own property.
That said, they face challenges that no generation before has seen. Millennials remember the Global Financial Crisis, but this generation has come of age during the aftermath, only to see the pandemic strike just as things looked like they might be getting better. Younger people were disproportionately affected by COVID, as they were far more likely to be students, to work in hospitality and to work in tourism than those older than them.
Make sure your overall online presence is strong
Having an online presence is vital with pretty much every type of customer now, but for Gen Z, it is a non-negotiable. They live online and grew up online, making them more adept with tech and more receptive to new software than any other group. They’ll stalk your LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok to make sure that your values align with theirs, and expect you to maintain a presence of your own.
Where once a website was a way to drive customers into your traditional business, now it has to be the primary place to conduct business. Automation, online documentation and online signing are second nature to younger people, especially those who have been economically active during the pandemic when physical business was shut down. As ever, a strong business is one that puts its rod where the fish are: so adapt to suit the new audience.
The importance of informational content marketing
While Gen Z are light-years ahead in terms of tech knowledge, they lag behind other generations in terms of financial savvy. Understandably for a generation raised largely after the financial crisis and in an era of poor access to credit, they know comparatively little about loans and finance.
That’s where you can step in: the broker can play the role of educator as well as facilitator for clients. Homeownership is a big step for anyone, and for a group that has largely been unable to engage with traditional methods of lending, it is even bigger. Make sure that your marketing is content heavy and lets the audience know exactly what they are getting themselves in for. Don’t be afraid to make it informative, as this demographic has been proven time and again to have an online attention span that is short, but receptive to content that they think will be helpful.
Brokers have been able to carve themselves a niche in tech-friendly product offerings since the pandemic. Market share has grown on the back of expanded offerings to customers that were brought about by the lockdowns, and brokers proved more adept in taking on new methods to go where the business was. For Gen Z, this is vital.
They have, in all likelihood, never signed a cheque or sent a fax. They use banking apps, and want to know in real time where there money is, and with data is possible. Fintechs, which can be scary to Boomers and Millennials, are second nature to the youngest generation and will face a far lower barrier of entry than they will with older clients.
Always being available
It goes without saying that, among the younger cohort, the “always on” mentality is strong. They are never without their phones, and rarely away from contact for long. That means that, as someone who deals with customers who are never off, then you should also expect to be available. While it might seem like anathema to those raised on a 9 to 5, the younger consumer is used to everything, from shopping to television to media, to be on demand and around the clock. If you don’t adapt, they will likely go elsewhere.
That means that Gen Z homebuyers, who are undertaking a huge investment in the lives, are likely to have questions that simply have to be fielded by brokers to maintain trust and keep clients happy. If that takes place outside of traditional working hours, so be it. That is, largely, what the online presence is for: a solid FAQ section, an autochat or a social media manager can be used to keep a 24/7 face that can interact with customers, even when you are out of action.
Inclusivity is a must
You might not think that cultural values have much to do with buying a house, but for Gen Z homebuyers, they are vital. If they are to trust you with hundreds of thousands of their dollars, they are going to want to see that your values align with theirs, and that things that they consider non-negotiable are accepted.
From a content marketing perspective, that means making assets that are sensitive to trends in popular culture, that acknowledge structural societal issues and that are receptive to marginalised groups. Time and again, it has been proven that younger people, including Millennials, care deeply about this, and it costs little for the broker to be up to date – especially when a potential client is on the line.