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Gen Z Steps into the Housing Market—How to Market to the Next Generation of Homebuyers

January 22, 2024 — 8 min read

Gen Z Enters the Housing Market

No cap—the housing market has been low-key out of pocket for young homebuyers this year. In fact, with high prices and rising rates, buying a home right now may feel like riding a roller coaster without a safety harness.

However, despite today’s ups and downs, you have the knowledge and know-how to help this emerging generation thrive. From social media tips to insights into young homebuyers' characteristics and preferences, these tips will help you create effective marketing strategies to capture attention, build trust, and guide homebuyers on the path to homeownership.

Understanding Gen Z Homebuyers

Born between 1997 and 2012, Gen Z represents the latest cohort of homebuyers. In 2023, they represented approximately 4 percent of all homebuyers, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) most recent Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

Cut differently, you can see how it has the potential to radically change how we understand and attract new clients: nearly 30% of 25-year-olds owned a home in 2022, which is higher than the 27% rate for Gen Xers when they were the same age. The biggest distinguishing factor between this generation and others is their relationship with technology. This generation was the first to grow up in the era of social media and have a strong bond with it.

Gen Z homebuyers grew up:

  • Watching iPads in their car seats
  • Completing school assignments using Google Docs
  • Depending on Google and Apple Maps for directions when driving
  • Submitted college and job applications electronically

If this generation grew up with technology embedded in each milestone of their life, why would we expect them to enter the homebuying journey expecting anything else?

How much time does Gen Z spend on social media?

On average, Gen Z dedicates at least three hours daily to social media, with over half investing four or more hours each day. While they may not prioritize social platforms for work-related activities, they engage in social media for leisure, entertainment, and connectivity.

  • Generally, members of this generation know what’s popular online and prefer to engage with it, from viral challenges to trending filters.
  • Gen Zers share posts and stories that provide a glimpse into their lives and passions and seek genuine and relatable content while placing high value on transparency.
Gen Z Enters the Housing Market

Which social media platforms does Gen Z engage with most and why?

For Gen Zers looking to get into the real estate market, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube are the best places to connect and grow their knowledge base; generally, that’s because this generation prioritizes short-form video content and visual storytelling.

This preference may have roots in the pandemic, when TikTok, a short-form video-sharing app, exploded into the most downloaded app globally. In response, Instagram launched Reels in 2021. Reels is an on-platform feature similar to TikTok that Instagram users can use to create, edit, and post short-form video content.

Gen Z Enters the Housing Market

What is short-form content and what is the best way to get started?

Generally considered to be anything less than or around 60 seconds, short-form videos are bite-sized and easily digestible. These videos are meant to be punchy and to the point and offer a creative way to showcase properties, share market insights, and establish a strong online presence. If you’ve ever consumed short-form video content, you know how easy it is to go from one video to the next, only to look up and feel like an hour passed in five minutes.

“If you’re wanting to educate, it’s about leaning into those video content platforms,” Ally Carty, a National Account Executive for ActiveComply and Gen Z expert, said in a recent interview with Steve Richman, a keynote speaker specializing in mortgage, real estate, and banking. “[For younger generations], video content is so much easier to consume.”

Marketing to Gen Z Homebuyers: Strategies for Success

26 percent of all purchases were first-time homebuyers in 2022; in 2023, that number went up to 32 percent. This underscores the importance of knowing where first-time buyers gather and the most effective means to connect them.

In her interview with Richman, Carty provides tangible tips to help housing professionals connect with and forge lasting relationships based on trust.

Carty started working for ActiveComply—which helps companies manage their compliance on social media virtually—in June last year.

“I was looking at all these lenders, their social media, their video content, and I felt like something was missing,” Carty said. “They want to help consumers, but the content—I don’t know if it’s exactly what my generation, or what I, would find valuable, as someone who knows nothing about the home buying process.”

While examining social media for her job, Carty noticed that many realtors and mortgage advisors forget to “take off their professional cap” to meet young homebuyers where they’re at in their journey.

“This involves taking a step back to look at the market as a whole—where do you want to be marketing yourself, how can you differentiate yourself, and I think there’s a big gap across social media,” Carty said.

RELATED: Jingle All the Way to Debt-Free Living: How Debt Consolidation Helps Homeowners

Gen Z Enters the Housing Market

With Carty and Richman’s expertise in mind, here are strategies to help boost your social media presence into the new year:

  • Strategic content planning. Evaluate your current social media presence and create a proactive scheduling strategy. Consistency is key, so plan and schedule posts to maintain a steady flow of engaging content, whether that’s a daily, bi-weekly, or weekly posting schedule. Social media management tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, or Sprout Social can help you plan and schedule posts across different platforms. Take advantage of built-in analytics to refine your strategy based on real-time insights.
  • Intentional post frequency. It's not just about the number of posts—it’s also about timing and the inherent value each post brings.
    • Quality over quantity. Craft content that aligns with your brand identity, resonates with your audience, and provides genuine value. Prioritize substance over volume.
    • Understand your audience. Review audience analytics to figure out the best times and frequency for your posts. Different platforms may have different peak engagement periods.
    • Create a posting calendar. Designate specific days and times for different types of content, whether it’s informative articles, engaging visuals, or interactive polls. This ensures a consistent flow without overwhelming your audience.
  • Pair video content with visual storytelling. Gen Z's affinity for visual experiences, especially short-form videos, presents an opportunity to elevate your brand's engagement. Here’s how to harness the power of visual storytelling:
    • Understand the short-form appeal. Gen Z, with their short attention spans, gravitates towards short-form videos. Understand the essence of short-form content, focusing on brevity, creativity, and immediate engagement.
    • Leverage Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. Create a dedicated presence on these platforms to tap into the immense user base and leverage their unique features like music, filters, and duets. These elements add an interactive layer to your visual storytelling.
    • Showcase your expertise. Offer bite-sized tips, highlight market trends, or explain complex concepts in a digestible manner. Position yourself as a knowledgeable authority within the brief timeframe these platforms allow.
    • Inject personal narratives. Share success stories, client testimonials, or behind-the-scenes glimpses into your professional journey. This humanizes your brand and fosters a sense of trust and connection.
    • Engage with trends. Participate in relevant trends by putting your unique spin on them. This not only keeps your content fresh but also aligns your brand with the current interests of the Gen Z audience.
    • "SQATM" for business content. For any business-related content, try breaking the topic down into a story, a question and answer, a discussion about specific tips, tricks, or tutorials, or a review of a myth or misunderstanding.
    • Maintain a positive tone. More often than not, young buyers get bogged down in negative headlines. Whenever possible, highlight positive aspects of today’s market and opportunities for success.
  • Address concerns proactively. Acknowledge prevalent concerns, such as high home prices and rising rates, but frame them in a context emphasizing opportunities for growth and investment. Instead of dwelling on challenges, position them as stepping stones to financial success.
  • Highlight affordability solutions. Whether it's discussing government assistance programs, special mortgage offerings, or effective budgeting strategies, showcase practical ways that make homeownership accessible and financially sensible for Gen Z.

RELATED: Here’s How Buying a Home Can Set Clients Up for Financial Success

  • Highlight opportunities to build wealth through homeownership. The majority of today’s first-time buyers are tired of hearing about rates—instead, they’re eager to understand how homeownership can serve as a potent tool for building wealth and ensuring long-term success. You can guide them on this transformative journey by highlighting various opportunities:
    • Equity accumulation. Illustrate the gradual increase in home equity over time, showcasing it as a tangible form of wealth that grows with each payment.
    • Property appreciation. Provide insights into market trends and historical data, demonstrating how properties have historically increased in value over the years.
    • Tax advantages. Explain how deductions for mortgage interest, property taxes, and certain closing costs can contribute to significant financial savings. Position these tax benefits as additional avenues for wealth accumulation.
  • Financial planning for future milestones. Discuss how property ownership can serve as a financial foundation for goals such as education, retirement, or entrepreneurial endeavors. Connect the dots between homeownership and broader financial success.

RELATED: How Would a Recession Impact Home Value? The Silver Lining for Buyers

It Hits Different with PacRes

No matter their age or life stage, your clients deserve a 5-star customer experience through every step of the homebuying process, and beyond. Reach out today to learn more, or click here to receive a customized quote.

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