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Gen Z Dipping Its Toes Into Home Buying


Who’s sick of reading about millennials? I am, and I am one, albeit on the crustier end of the scale. A new report from Zillow shows that Generation Z, those born between 1995 and 2010, are beginning to enter the housing market. It’s time to learn about these little tikes, and start drafting plans with their interests in mind.

According to Zillow’s Consumer Housing Trends Report 2017, Gen Z already comprises 21 percent of the American population—66.3 million strong. In fact, the report adds that they’re expected to outnumber millennials by 1 million people in 2020.

It’s no surprise this is the most ethnically and racially diverse generation in the country’s history, with 47 percent identifying as non-white. This study from Zillow is just one of many showing that Generation Z really is different than us millennial trailblazers, with different ideas about everything from sexual fluidity to spending characteristics and drinking habits.

While I’m not sure why they weren’t named the AOL or Prodigy generation, Gen Zers are the first generation born after internet access became the norm in American homes.

“The majority of Generation Z doesn’t remember a time before smartphones, apps, and omnipresent social media,” the report read. “As more of Generation Z moves into adulthood, the needs of this high-tech demographic will influence the real estate industry in surprising ways for years to come.”

Zillow adds Gen Z is just entering the housing market, primarily as renters, but that they have so-called pre-emptive dreams about owning their own homes in the coming years. What’s more, older members of this cohort are just as likely as older generations to indicate owning a home is a key part of the American dream—62 percent.

Where they differ is in their social nature, in the actual offline world, desiring shared housing amenities that bring people together, like pools, rooftops and shared green space, as a few examples. They put their actions where their mouths are more than previous generations, with 32 percent “very involved with their community or neighborhood, more so than any generation except for silent generation renters.”

At this point, 82 percent of Generation Z renters live with someone else, which is a higher percentage than other groups. They’re also more likely than other renters to rent an apartment in a small- or medium-size building, which explains some of the crazy stuff I see on "Tiny House Hunters"—which often leads me to yell something about a coming divorce at my TV.

As one would expect, a quarter of Gen Z is enrolled in school, while 61 percent are just getting their careers rolling with a median household income of $27,827.

These are just a few of the interesting stats from Zillow’s report. After older generations conclude declaring that millennials have ruined everything, it’s nice to know there’s a new crop poking their heads above soil to take that mantle from us aging millennials. After all, we’re tired, and ready to start doing some of this generational complaining ourselves.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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