Gen Z’s Influence on Real Estate

Is your property listing lit? Are you serving REALTOR® realness? Did you slay your last deal?

With each generation comes a new list of vocabulary, so if you’re not on the same page as your Gen Z clients, you’re probably not vibing… no cap!

If that sentence didn’t make sense to you, you’ll need to brush up on your Gen Z vernacular. On the flip side, some of your clients may think you’re speaking in tongues when you ask them about their amortization or irrevocability period. You can share this list of real estate terms with them so you’re all speaking the same real estate language.

As real estate professionals, we work with clients from all walks of life, spanning different generations. For those of us who have been in the industry for decades, we’re likely assisting the children or even grandchildren of our past clients.

Younger agents, on the other hand, may be working with clients similar in age—maybe from their childhood or academic life.

Paired with the ever-increasing availability and use of modern technology, the property owners of tomorrow are radically redefining the real estate landscape.

Defining a generation

According to the Pew Research Center, the predominant generations are defined as follows:

  • Gen-Z, born between 1997 and 2012;
  • Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996;
  • Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980; and
  • Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964.

Let’s not forget my generation, Xennials—the “micro-generation” in between Gen X and Millennials, born approximately between 1977 and 1985. You can thank us for the Stranger Things phenomenon!

Who are Gen Z?

Most Gen Zers are between the ages of 11 and 26 (as of 2023) and are either still in school or in the early stages of their professional careers. This cohort, often called the “iPhone generation”, is tech-savvy, able to access information at a faster rate and prefer it to be in bite-sized pieces, like a 30-second TikTok rather than a lengthy written article.

According the Local Insights for last quarter of 2022, 13.6% of users were 18 to 24-years-old.

Learn more about Canadian home buyers—from first-time home buyers to downsizing seniors, and everything in between. We look at who they are, what their goals are and how REALTORS® can help.

Working With Gen Z Clients

If you’re a REALTOR® who intends on growing your personal brand and expanding your business, it’s imperative you’re active on social media. Social media is the preferred medium for Gen Zers to discover and follow individuals and businesses they deem interesting, whereas prior generations were more interested in websites and television. The more candid, unscripted, and humourous your content is, the more likely it will garner attention from a younger audience. Gen Zers value authenticity, empathy and casualness greatly and are at the forefront of societal activism.

My Gen Z clients prefer to communicate via text message or Direct Message (DM) on a social media platform instead of a telephone conversation. Be prepared to respond and work quickly, with all of your listing details at hand and showings scheduled accordingly, otherwise you might risk the possibility of your prospective clients “ghosting” you—when they suddenly stop responding and become unreachable. It’s possible they’ve started working with another more responsive REALTOR®!

Gen Z’s outlook on real estate

According to a spring 2022 report by Mustel Group and Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, 37% of Canadian Gen Z adults expect to purchase their first home within the next five years. The majority (67%) report they will use personal savings as their primary source of funds for their down payment, while 25% expect to receive a financial gift from family and 16% will use family inheritance. Another 24% of those surveyed said they expect to rely on a loan from a financial institution other than a mortgage.

Many of my Gen Z clients are currently renting whilst studying and/or working to save money for their eventual downpayment. Some of them will blend their savings with gifted funds from family to help expedite their homeownership goals. This period provides an opportunity to help educate them on the ins and outs of the housing market as well as the responsibilities which come along with homeownership. Given that most will likely opt for condo living as their initial step, I do my best to explain the differences between this and freehold, resale and pre-construction and so forth.

Want to hear about how different generations are rocking Canadian real estate? On Episode 17 of CREA’s REAL TIME podcast we discuss trends and a redefined landscape.  

You should have posted an Instagram Reel, TikTok challenge, YouTube video and Tweeted something by the time you got to this part of the article! I’m only joking, of course, but the reality is, Gen Zers are very savvy multitaskers with a short attention span, so being able to vibe on their level is critical in maintaining a good client relationship.

Many believe that since Gen Zers are growing up in a time of austerity, inflation, and a looming recession, that homeownership may seem impossible for this generation. However, if we as real estate professionals can leverage technology, we can help educate, motivate and inspire this generation to develop strategies to lead them towards accomplishing their real estate goals… and, that’s the tea!

Ajay Gohil is a REALTOR® and salesperson with Right At Home Realty Inc. in Toronto, Ontario. Ajay emigrated from England in 2003 and initially worked in the luxury fenestration industry with high-net-worth clients and their architects and developers. He then moved into the IT sector for IBM Canada Ltd. and more recently, for an incentive marketing firm where he managed a portfolio of global clients. It was only natural for Ajay to continue his passion for helping people when he embarked on a career in real estate—a field which he has always admired along with architecture and interior design. He specializes in helping newcomers to settle and build their real estate wealth across Toronto and York Region.

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