Generation Y is one generation that keeps you guessing.
From the years that define it (demographers are still arguing about which dates should be used) to the racial compositions (the most diverse in history) to the conflicting personality (entitled but altruistic), this is a group of Americans whose overriding characteristic is its resistance to being defined.
But apartment executives must do their best.
“It is incredibly important that you market to Generation Y,” says Al Neely, the Washington, D.C.-based chief development officer for Archstone-Smith. “I always tell myself, ‘It's the lifestyle, stupid.'”
Take Natalie Asaro, 21, who works part time while attending San Diego State University. She picked her current residence based solely on its location. She found her apartment online and opted to rent in the expensive Pacific Beach area that is closer to the ocean than her classes or her job.
“I just had to live by the beach,” Asaro says. “It's not the cheapest place, but there is a lot going on down there, so it's worth it.”
When she graduates next year and has a full-time job, Asaro says she wants to find a place with the same social proximity but with other upgrades.
“We have friends who have all of the amenities like granite countertops and stainless steel appliances,'' she says. “We don't even have an icemaker right now. But as soon as we can afford it, we want those things.”
To capture the attention of renters or buyers like Asaro, there are three musts that multifamily decision-makers should remember: technology, amenities, and design.