A recent Manulife survey result demonstrated Canadian Millennials are looking for financial advice through non-traditional platforms. That’s not really surprising, but being the contrarians we are, we feel a bit more critical examination is needed because the survey doesn’t reveal the whole story.
Who They Are
The term “Millennial” refers to a person between the ages of 24 and 39. That’s over nine million Canadians and 80 million Americans. In Canada, Millennials currently make up 27 per cent of our population. Nearly half of Canada’s Millennials are reported to desire home ownership in the next five years, despite very real obstacles. Millennials are certainly an audience well worth your time to talk to.
Who Giving the Advice
Here are the most interesting findings from the Manulife survey on the biggest difference between how Millennials and older demographics seek financial advice:
- Over half of indebted Millennials who feel in control of their financial situation say technology has helped them manage their debts compared to just one in three Generation X (aged 40 – 55) & Baby Boomer (aged 56 – 74) Canadians.
- More than half (53 per cent) want their financial advisor to be a mobile app compared to 31 per cent of those aged 41 to 69.
Should we use this data to extrapolate how Millennials want to receive information for one of the largest purchases most will make in their lifetime?
Certainly, take note, yes; but cautiously.
While Millennials overwhelmingly search for their new home using online listing services (74 per cent), half to three quarters value working with real estate agents, and, just Gen X and Boomers, they still use traditional methods such as newspaper ads (18 per cent), driving around neighborhoods (29 per cent), and asking family and friends (34 per cent).
(No doubt, their parents are strongly advising them to talk to a Realtor®, check the paper, drive around and talk to people. Especially if the “bank of Mom and Dad” is involved).
3 Points That Are Relevant
An article in The National Association of Realtors® Magazine (U.S.) entitled “5 Millennial Real Estate Trends in 2019” detailed three points we feel are relevant:
- Millennials are willing to put in Sweat Equity, (thanks in part, no doubt to HGTV’s education with real-world renovation case-studies).
- They are well researched and prepared, and they don’t need Realtors® to show them the homes they can find online themselves. Rather, they want an inside scoop on details they can’t research, like potential value gains, new up-and-coming neighbourhoods, an appraisal of how good the local schools are, and guidance for inspections and negotiations.
- They tend to formulate their opinions from online reviews and social media, so it DOES pay to have a strong presence on these platforms and to make sure you showcase your listings on social media; primarily on Facebook and Instagram.
What Are Millennial’s Priorities for Home Ownership?
Our answer lands on the contrarian side of this question. Most Realtors® we talk to say Millennials are after high walkability scores. However, we’ve discovered some U.S.-based research that echoes our own experience. It reveals walkability may be less of a priority than many Realtors® believe it to be. The survey asked respondents to score how important factors like walkability were to potential buyers. What came back was interesting: Importance of walkability to bars and restaurants – 9 per cent; commute time to work – 11 per cent; proximity to family and friends – 3 per cent. Taken together, walkability ranked as one of the least important factors for Millennials on the search for their new home.
Indeed, what they really value are safe neighborhoods and good school districts rather than proximity to the city and amenities. That makes sense when you consider the fact that Millennials are parents to 50 percent of today’s children. As this generational cohort gets older and more interested in settling down and starting families, it starts to strongly resemble the tastes and preferences of previous generations.
In conclusion, technology is only a doorway for you to make you introduction. It’s an extremely important doorway, certainly, but while Millennials may find you through listing services or by other digital means, you build relationships with them just like you did with their parents; Face-to-face meetings, listening to their dreams hopes and fears. We also suggest you really surprise them once in a while with an actual phone call to let them know you care.
We love all things real estate in B.C. We research and report on what we find. However, we acknowledge we’re not Realtors® ourselves. If your experiences working with your Millennial clients align with our opinions, or if we’ve revealed information that improves your business, we’re stoked! Let us know. However, if you completely disagree, tell us why.