April 13, 2022

Gen Z homebuying is a social media challenge

For the housing industry, 2022 is a good time to take a hard look at the newest kids on the homebuying block. Born after 1996, this is “Generation Z," known more commonly as “Zoomers.”

Prepare to engage. Social media has a more meaningful role in influencing customers’ choices among younger generations.

Like Millennials before them, Zoomers report being online almost constantly. But unlike their older cohort, most of them cannot recall a time before smartphones and social media.

Zoomers are notoriously skeptical of traditional marketing. More than half have attended or plan to attend college, and many still harbor strong (often childhood) memories of homeownership pitfalls. Some of those were directly experienced by family, friends, and classmates during the “Great Recession” era of 2007 to 2012.

They also know about the true value of housing. Raised with the guidance of reality TV's "flippers," many learned cosmetic problems are often not as important as good deals.

And when it comes to messaging, one size does not fit all. Analysts say Generation Z is a bargain-hunting, tech-loving, real estate–savvy force to be reckoned with. They know the value of a dollar and the mathematics behind long-term investment.

For the short term, many mortgage and real estate agencies are moving to diversify hiring. Some go younger. Some hire social media marketing experts. Studies show online shoppers are more likely to buy goods and services recommended by their peers.

Given that the average real estate professional is in their mid-40s, it’s a good strategy, but one that only goes so far.

At 68 million strong, Gen Z makes up roughly 20% of the U.S. population. The most diverse generation in history, Zoomers are just starting to enter peak homebuying age, so marketing strategies are still under construction.