The new generation of multifamily residents: XYZ

The residents currently moving into apartments have different expectations and goals than those who've gone before them. Find out how your community can survive and thrive in this new world.

Today’s renters are a new breed with evolving tastes. From Generation X, to Millennials, to the incoming Generation Z…marketing to these populations can feel a bit like sorting through alphabet soup. Make sure your property doesn’t get left behind with these quick tips to attracting and retaining younger residents.


Generation X encompasses those born in the 1970’s and 80’s. These are usually well established, family-oriented long-term renters looking for comfort and amenities.

Millennials (Generation Y) are the tech-savvy population born between the 1980’s and the early 2000’s. They are known for their connection to media and globalized worldview.

Generation Z is a budding population now coming into adulthood. They are referred to as “digital natives, being the first generation to be introduced to cell phones and other smart devices from early childhood. They are accustomed to convenience and connectivity.


Why does it matter to market to the XYZ? For starters, each newer generation is more numerous than the one before it, due to increasing birth rates. These are quickly becoming the largest and most powerful stakeholders in the market.

Further, the baby boomers who preceded these generations enjoyed ample affordable housing, a thriving job market, and considerable economic growth and mobility. However, the three (XYZ) groups that successively followed the boomers missed out on the housing boom and grew up in the time of the Great Recession. These are smart consumers looking for housing that provides significant bang for their buck.

We are increasingly seeing that a successful and sustainable marketing strategy for apartment communities should be designed with this demographic in mind.


So, how do you make sure you are focusing your efforts in the right direction? We’ve assembled some ideas borrowed from cultural psychologists, marketing wizards, and experts in the multifamily rental industry.

1. Media

These generations do almost everything from shopping to socializing online. In order to attract XYZ residents, you’ll want to have an attractive, updated website and social media presence. Potential renters will want to see positive reviews on social sites and easily navigable web pages. It is worth the investment in tech development to make your first interactions with these renters pop.

2. Smart Tech

Smart technology features are becoming more in-demand as technology continues to permeate our lives. Studies show that 70 percent of total digital minutes are spent on mobile devices. Renters from Generation Z expect to have their logistics, communication and entertainment streamlined into a few handy screens. Thankfully, it has never been easier or more affordable to offer smart technology in your common areas and units.

Remote access control and automated features like Alexa can be easily implemented on a per-unit basis. Many companies can work with some of your property’s preexisting AV and camera wiring to provide snazzy new common area amenities that will keep your property ahead of the curve.

Adding features like smart thermostats and lighting also appeals to the globally-conscious and environmentally-friendly sensibilities of these new generations. A “green” label can be a huge point of attraction for your community.

Likewise, Millennials and Generation Z are known for their penchant for uniqueness and personalization. Smart technology options really make each unit more customizable. When residents can design the features of home, they are much more likely to stay longer.

Finally, boosting the smart capabilities of your property can be a huge rental revenue booster and competitive advantage over other communities.

Still intimidated by smart tech integration? Learn how to make it accessible.

3. Interesting Amenities

According to a Harris Poll and Eventbrite survey, 78% millennials would rather pay for an experience than material goods. The new frontier in apartment marketing and management is all about amenities. With a 40% increase in new build for luxury properties, it pays to set your community apartment with a couple of “cool factors.”

Clubhouses equipped with accessible media and games are a great place to start. Fitness options including yoga and group classes or meetups will appeal to this health-conscious demographic. Fun, interactive community areas like barbecue pits or walking trails will reel in the XYZ population.

Some communities are even experimenting with new strategies for completing commonly mundane maintenance and logistical tasks. Gamification is a new technique of turning things like leaving reviews, attending community events, or paying rent early/online into virtual points that can be cashed in for goodies or community “credit.” Thinking outside the box to engage residents is always a good idea when interacting with the XYZ.

Also, these renters are smart about security. In the age of hacking and identity theft, they expect the highest standard of privacy and home security that technology can provide. Common area cameras, unique access codes, and secure communication networks are all important to younger generations.

4. Community

This demographic is hyper-connected. Instead of the community bulletin board at the coffee shop, residents expect instant, online communication. In 2017, Satisfacts found that 88% of renters prefer that community staff contact them by email, and 50% prefer text messages. There are a wide variety of technical solutions to the communication challenge, some of which can even be integrated into other necessary processes like maintenance request management and rent payment. Go paperless and experiment with new communication strategies! (LINK TO OTHER POST ABOUT COMMUNICATION)

Likewise, residents want to feel like a part of a thriving community. Engaging events are important to establishing a long-term community vibe at your property. With greater migration to cities and a diverse job market, these generations are more likely to live far away from their family members and are eager to establish a sense of belonging. Connecting residents with one another and their surrounding neighborhood is a great way to make sure they stick around.

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3015 W. Weldon Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85017