Dominating the housing market as 55+ homebuyers for several decades, boomers are now being replaced by a new generation in their mid-50s! Long called the forgotten generation, Gen X is making their appearance known with the oldest in the generation turning 58 this year. The youngest Gen Xers are only 43 years old, so this generation will be dodging AARP cards in the mail as they turn 55 and become the new active adult homebuyers for the next 12 years!
Often dubbed the MTV Generation or the latchkey generation, Gen X lived through multiple challenging events, including high rates of divorce and economic changes, Generation X has learned how to be resourceful, self-reliant, daring and tenacious.
What do homebuilders and developers need to know?
Home builders and real estate developers need to pay close attention to the crucial difference that this new homebuying demographic brings to the table for 55+ living.
What are some of the characteristics of Gen X?
Generally referring to individuals born between the mid-1960s and early 1980s, Gen X often boasts unique and prominent traits that every active adult home builder and developer needs to make note of, including:
- Independent: Growing up in a time of economic and societal change, Gen Xers often had to fend for themselves, making them self-reliant and independent.
- Tech-Savvy: Many Gen Xers tend to be comfortable with technology as they were among the first to grow up with personal computers and the internet.
- Skeptical: Commonly described as skeptical and distrusting of authority figures and institutions, Generation X grew up during a time of economic uncertainty and political upheaval. As a result, this generation may have a healthy dose of cynicism.
- Entrepreneurial: Gen Xers are well-known for being self-starters and entrepreneurial. They tend to be attracted to small businesses and startups and are more likely to work for themselves than the generations before them.
- Flexible: Flexible and adaptable, both in their personal and professional lives, Gen Xers often juggle multiple responsibilities and are good at managing their time and resources.
- Pragmatic: Generation X is commonly characterized as being the practical generation. They value hard work and result-oriented solutions and are typically less idealistic than other generations.
What do Gen Xers look for in a 55+ home?
- Livable/functional floor plans: Homes need to be functional and easy to maintain! Gen X tends to be attracted to open floor plans, low-maintenance appointments and ample storage space.
- Adaptable Spaces: For these home buyers, flexible spaces off the main living area that are adaptable to remote working, hobbies and more are a must!
- Natural elements: Connection with the outdoors is important, especially within the home. Incorporating natural lighting, wood grains and organic appointments throughout their living space is key.
- Multigenerational plans: Many Gen Xers have multigenerational households with kids and parents living with them.
- Energy efficiency: This generation tends to be environmentally conscious, values sustainable living and seeks homes that showcase energy-efficient features such as Energy Star appliances, solar panels and high-efficiency heating and cooling units.
- Location: Generation X values a home’s location, both in terms of quality of life and convenience. They prefer their homes to be in neighborhoods with quality schools, a sense of community and access to local shopping and dining.
What Neighborhood Features Do Gen Xers Look For?
Gen Xers appreciate neighborhood amenities that provide entertainment, convenience and quality of life. Here are a few examples of neighborhood features that Generation X may prioritize:
- Walkability: Gen Xers prefer walkable communities with access to local shopping, delicious dining and other amenities on foot.
- Parks and green spaces: Valuing convenient access to parks and green spaces, Generation X enjoys neighborhoods where they can explore the outdoors through activities such as biking, walking and playing with their kids and pets.
- Fitness facilities: Generation X prioritizes fitness and health and values access to yoga studios, gyms and fitness facilities.
- Entertainment options: From live music to sporting events, Gen Xers love having a plethora of entertainment options surrounding their neighborhoods.
- Schools: A top priority for Gen Xers is living in a community that is zoned for top-rated schools. This may include public and private schools, as well as preschools and daycare facilities.
- Transportation options: Generation X is attracted to neighborhoods with ample transportation options, including bike lanes, public transit and walkable streets.
How can home builders efficiently market to Gen Xers?
If you are looking to market to Gen X, here are a few tips that may help you better reach and connect with this audience:
- Use a Mix of Traditional and Digital Media: Comfortable with traditional and digital media, Gen Xers can be effectively targeted using a mixture of both, including print ads, social media advertising, direct mail, email campaigns and more!
- Be Authentic and Transparent: Generation X tends to be skeptical of marketing messages that feel sales-y and unrelatable. This generation responds better to brands that are transparent and authentic with straightforward, honest communication.
- Highlight Value and Quality: Many Gen Xers are well-established in their careers and have families and other responsibilities. They are open to paying more for products and services that offer more value and quality to their lives.
- Use Nostalgia Sparingly: While many individuals have fond memories of their youth, Generation X may not respond well to marketing messages that rely heavily on nostalgia. If you do reference their younger years, be sure it takes an authentic approach and ensures the nostalgia is relevant to the product or service you are promoting.
- Be Inclusive: As a diverse group, Gen Xers appreciate inclusive brands! Show a range of people and experiences, and ensure your marketing messages resonate across different ethnicities, cultures and backgrounds.
Are you ready to market your active adult community to Generation X? The knowledgeable team at Denim Marketing is prepared to develop strategies to place your homebuilding and development company’s 55+ neighborhoods in front of Gen X! Reach out today at 770-383-3360 or via our online contact form.