The influence of the Millennials

The presidential election result in America reminded us – if we needed any reminding - that we live in a time of massive immediate and fundamental change. A point not lost on us here in the UK after Brexit. In the property industry even Budget tax changes can alter buying and selling habits overnight. However, there is a more gradual, but no less significant change going on in our country which is having a significant effect on our attitude to property.

The baby boomers are finally making way for the millennials - Generation X to Generation Y. The digital generation is becoming the increasingly dominant force in the property market and that will only gather pace in the years ahead. This new group does not think or act like the old one.

The baby boomers could be relied upon to develop their parents’ ideas. This new generation have their own thoughts entirely. For income and social reasons they are generally older when they buy property for the first time. They are far happier to rent than their parents were. They are not so keen to take on older, larger properties and are more reluctant than the last generation to repair, renovate and re-model. DIY is not regarded as a recreation and leisure time pursuit for the younger generation. Millennials often prefer more compact homes built in thermally efficient and ecologically agreeable materials.

Millennials often tend to favour new homes over old ones – if they have the choice. Those baby boomers who are in the market now are planning retirement and often prefer urban locations so they can be close to amenities such as shops, entertainment, transport and health services. Older rural properties remain in high demand but some changes may be required to maximise their value.

Just as we witness dwindling numbers of world war veterans filing past the Cenotaph on Armistice Sunday, so we in the property industry witness a changing of the guard in the business of buying and selling homes. There has probably not been such a sweeping change in housing attitudes since the 1960s. Established norms in buyer behaviour are changing and we as estate agents are adjusting.

Definitions: - Millennials are thought to have been born between approximately 1977 and 2000 and like to do and buy things for a cause they believe in and often have a mission. Also known as Generation Me and Echo Boomers.These are not precise dates.