If you’re a landlord or property manager, you want to attract millennials. Why? Well, they are a very large proportion of renters. One contributing factor is their age. Millennials were born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, so those born in the last decade of that span are in their twenties now – long established as prime renting age in the U.S.
The other contributing factor, though, is that millennials were hit hard by the Great Recession of 2007-2009. They were jobless for longer than previous generations and may have entered the workforce at a lower rate of pay. They also have greater burdens of student debt to carry than past generations. As a result, they may have lower income than generations before them along with a greater debt load. They have less discretionary income.
All in all, they may have had less opportunity to save for a down payment on a house. Homeownership has dropped 8 percent among the millennial generation since 2006.
The result? They may be renters for a long time. Because of their generational situation, renting as they reach 30 and even 40 will no longer be seen as an anomaly. It may become the norm.
That means you want to court millennials, who are going to be a major market for you.
For Millennials, Green Is Good
Courting means supplying a great target market with features they like.
It’s hard to make sweeping generalizations about an age cohort whose birth years span two decades. However, one of the generalizations that can be made is millennials are extremely conscious of their duty to be environmentally conscious. While former generations may not have integrated climate change or the need for sustainability into their worldview, millennials were taught these ideas from their earliest years. They know about climate change, they take global warming as a given and they will do their bit to prevent it.
They are therefore overwhelmingly likely to vote with their feet toward apartments and rental complexes that provide energy-efficient features.
Saving Money Counts Too
While the green consciousness of millennials is primarily about environmental concerns, they are also, of course, very concerned with saving money. They lack large margins of disposable income, remember? One way to get more disposable income is to reduce expenses.
Many methods of enhancing energy efficiency also save costs. Energy Star appliances, for example, are certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce energy and conserve costs. An energy-efficient metal roof can save about 20 percent on cooling energy costs. Methods that reduce water consumption, such as low-flow toilets and reduced water showerheads, save on water costs.
Methods to Attract Energy-Conscious Millennials
Given the preference millennials show for energy efficiency, what are some methods to attract them? Here are five proven ways:
1. Buy Energy Star appliances. Your dishwashers, refrigerators, washer-dryers, and light bulbs should all boast the U.S. EPA Energy Star label, for starters.
Don’t just buy Energy Star appliances, be sure to publicize them. Millennials may look for the label, or they may not. Use social media – it’s another thing millennials love.
2. Invest in solar power. Solar power or recyclable metal roofs allow you to use green energy from the sun. It lessens reliance on materials that are not sustainable, such as coal and oil, for your energy needs.
3. Place recycle bins in public areas or arrange for curbside recycling. Millennials are enthusiastic recyclers. Make sure they can recycle any containers or paper. They will appreciate it.
4. Conserve water. Invest in showerheads that conserve water and in low-flow toilets. If necessary, plant landscapes with native plants that will not require a great deal of watering.
5. Make bike racks a part of the public spaces. Energy efficiency is not confined to the home or domestic areas alone. Millennials concerned with the carbon footprint caused by oil and gas extraction are increasingly choosing to bike to work if it’s at all feasible. In fact, bicycle commutes have risen 60 percent in the past decade.
All these efforts will win you, coveted millennial renters. Be sure to publicize these green amenities through social media channels. You want millennials choosing your property over one that doesn’t have bike racks, solar power or active water conservation efforts.
Megan Wild writes about home improvement trends and explains easy ways to make home or rental improvements on her blog. She enjoys flipping old pieces of furniture in her downtime and checking out what’s new on HGTV.
If you liked this article, subscribe to Rentometer's email newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in rental housing.