During the Great Recession, a new breed of renter was brewing…the Echo Boomer. There are more than 65 million Echo Boomers ages 20-34 crawling out from their parent’s basement entering the real estate market. Many parents didn’t love the idea of having one or more of their adult children move back home. also helps stimulate demand for rentals that serve the echo boom market, and some of the lucky ones got their parents to subsidize their rent as a motive to leave home.
Specialists at the Urban Land Institute have concluded that these are the features most likely to appeal to echo boomers who can afford to rent or buy a new multifamily unit:
- High-powered internet connections for all spaces in the building; fast connectivity is a must.
- More open, flexible space within the units.
- High-quality kitchen and bathroom countertops but less closet/storage space.
- Shared amenities, such as communal space for informal get-togethers and parties; gym/sports equipment; bike storage; and dog parks/walks. Multifamily rentals that permit dogs ought to consider including outdoor dog washes in order to avoid clogged sinks from dog hair.
- Compact, less-expensive rental or condo studio units in the 250- to 450-square-foot (23–41 sq m) range.
- Two-bedroom, two-bathroom units that can be shared by three to four echo boom renters.
- High-amenity one-to two-bedroom condos for higher-income echo boomers.
Savvy developers note that the needs for echo boomers and their downsizing boomer parents are not that different. The trick is to build two types of products within the same building, with the larger, 2+ bedroom / 2.5+ bathroom units located on the higher floors. The larger, boomer units should also contain more closet/storage space, more formal entertainment space, and larger bathrooms.
The needed size of space should largely separate the two age groups within the building. Keep in mind there will always be the tech crowd, who have received large stock payouts, moving to the larger units, or that some boomers will not choose small pieds-à-terre on a lower floor.
There’s a whole new breed of renter out there. Grab hold of this market.