The influence of the Gen Y on the property market, and life in general, is now very obvious in the USA.  Ironically Gen Y’s reflect some of the idealism of the 1969’s and 70’s; less about possessions and more about the experience.   Of course the latest tech gadget isn’t a possession, it is a necessity and that $6,000 bike is a contribution to a green planet!

The experience of developers in America demonstrates that this group is different in fundamental ways from their parents.  To a large extent the social norm for the parents was that you would go to school, maybe some tertiary study, get a job, get married, buy a house and then have children, usually in that order.  If any of those “life stages” were delayed there were mutterings of pity, and if the progression deviated from the norm, outrage could follow.

Gen Y’s do not have the pressure to have a predictable life and that is translating into a “here and now” approach to where and how they live.  Buying is no longer the major driver with the rental market the fastest growing sector in many regions in the USA.

They are looking to trade off larger spaces for smarter spaces, having “amenity without walls” and sharing facilities.  They are looking for a lifestyle that is fresh and changing.  Roof top gardens with barbecues have become preferred as common areas over home theatres, and wifi is becoming a must throughout the entire complex.

Gen Y’s are becoming less and less car dependent. One developer put in a hundred bike storage lockers into a two hundred unit development, the most they had ever delivered.  But that wasn’t enough and now they are  translating car bays into more bike storage.  This is consistent with a General Motors survey which found that young people are six times less likely  to have a drivers license than their parents at the same age.

Developers in the USA are getting more and more savvy about serving this rapidly growing sector.  Projects with recycling chutes throughout, a workshop for bikes, high speed internet with wifi in common areas and close to public transport are being snapped up.

Whilst the USA is ahead of the curve in serving the new market, that is partially explained by the sheer volume of people in that country and it is likely that more Gen Y friendly developments will start popping up soon in Perth.