When Dean Holmes, former division vice president of Berkshire Property Advisors, took over as COO of Philadelphia-based Madison Apartment Group last year, he instantly noticed that 65 percent of Madison’s residents were under 35.
But that wasn’t so surprising, considering the number of Gen Y-ers that are now beginning to enter the rental market. What was surprising is that Madison operates predominantly in secondary and suburban markets like Fredericksburg, Va. and Reading, Pa. And only some of the younger residents Holmes sees in these suburban towns are commuting to work in larger, nearby cities.
“Not everybody wants to flock to a 500 sq. foot apartment in the city,” he says.
Madison is now on-trend with this surge of younger renters, unveiling a new website, brand and identity this week called “Find Your Place.” And if that place is in the suburbs, it might not be such a bad thing.
Gen Y renters in smaller markets have two big advantages when it comes to renting: price and value. Suburban style apartments offer more space for less money. And companies like Madison are able to offer more amenities like larger fitness centers when density isn’t an issue, which renters on a budget appreciate. “At the end of the day, it becomes an affordability issue,” says Holmes. “You go where you can afford.”
Are you seeing an upward trend in leases from Gen Y-ers in suburban and secondary markets? Are developers putting too much of a focus on core markets? Let us know what you think.