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2018 Real Estate Trends, and What They Mean for Agents

As we tie a ribbon on 2017, real estate marketing agents and big data banks are beginning to release forecasts for the new year. We know you’re just as curious as we are: who’s going to be buying homes? Who’s going to be selling? And how does all of this inform messaging as real estate agents try to market to those buyers and sellers? Today, we’re going to share with you a few of the real estate trends shaping 2018 and what agents should do to adapt.

 

Big Data

One key element of 2017 was big data collection. Real estate marketing agents have gotten really good at gathering data from a wide variety of both online and offline consumer experiences. This information serves as a guideline for messaging as agents try to reach the right audience at the right time. Big data has also helped to inform highly targeted social media campaigns that access information from buyer profiles and generate hot leads with just a few clicks from the real estate agent.

Moving forward, big data will be more important than ever to anticipate changing buying behavior. Predictive analytics, or the process of using old data to predict the future, will continue to grow in prominence for agents in 2018. Using a collection of data to predict when a prospect is most likely to fill in a lead form online, for example, will continue to be crucial for converting interested home buyers into clients.

 

Gen Z

Those that make up Generation Z, the demographic group born from 1995 to 2010, have hit their early 20’s and have become of great interest to marketers and real estate agents alike. Making up 21 percent of the American population and just graduating college, Gen Z is predicted to enter the housing market with many of the same variables as millennials did ten years ago: high student loan debt and an increased interest in an urban lifestyle.

According to the Zillow Group Report on Consumer and Housing Trends 2017, although Gen Z is only just beginning to enter the housing market as renters, its older members are just as likely as more mature generations to indicate owning a home as a key aspect of living the American dream (62 percent). Additionally, 80 percent of this age group say that they think about owning a home often (just behind millennials, who ranked at 82 percent). And, even though they are brand new to housing, 57 percent of Gen Z’ers consider buying over renting. Gen Z’s indicated pride in owning a home is certainly encouraging for the outlook of next generation home buyers.

The first with internet as a commonplace component throughout their lives, those that make up Gen Z are true social media natives. It’s estimated that 85% of this age group use social media to learn about new products. For real estate marketing agents, the bottom line is clear: Gen Z will be buying homes soon, and a targeted digital and social media strategy will be absolutely critical in connecting with them.

 

Millennials

Millennials, defined differently depending on where you look but thought to be roughly those between the ages of 20 and 36, have been the focus of the real estate market for the last several years. And that makes a lot of sense, as the average first-time home buyer is 32 years old and makes $72,000 a year, which makes millennials the largest group of homebuyers in the United States. Millennials are coming into their own in the housing market, but 2017’s inventory shortage meant prices were too high for many first-time buyers.

In fact, nationwide, 2017 saw 12 percent fewer homes on the market than the previous year. That’s a big number, and the shortage is predicted to continue in 2018. To help combat the shortage, 2018 will see a rise in new, entry-level homes that cater to first-time buyers. These homes will likely be located in the suburbs, farther away from urban areas traditionally thought to be the ideal hub for millennials. Even if millennials rent in cities now, suburban homes at lower prices will act as a big incentive to move in 2018. And remember when we talked about big data? Millennials spend a lot of time online, which makes this data easy to accumulate. 2018 will continue to be all about micro-targeted campaigns -- in our case, that means sending the right messages to urban millennials at the exact time that they’re the most likely to move.

This group has more buying power than ever before, and to market to them, agents will have to continue to use an extensive media mix to cultivate relationships with them via multiple touchpoints. Digital media -- social, email, a good website, and paid and organic search -- is, of course, the prescriptive option for this always-mobile group, but if you’ve been keeping up with us for any amount of time, you know that direct mail is highly effective with millennials. Meet this group where they are with a variety of strategies and watch listings grow.

 

Final Thoughts

The market is changing, and as new buyers enter the picture, agents will have to account for multiple-note strategies to reach potential clients. Personalized user experiences will become the norm, as consumers become increasingly expectant of relevant recommendations. In 2018, real estate marketing agents will take full advantage of data aggregation to reach buyers in highly targeted digital and offline campaigns.



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