Generation Z Values Technology and Digital Features in Apartment Rentals

Survey finds Gen Z has a clear vision of finding an affordable, superior apartment and relies on their tech savvy-ness and resources to make their way into the rental market.
By Sanziana Bona
January 19, 2021

The new renter generation, Generation Z, grew up with a technology and culturally diverse background—and is becoming one of the most significant age groups of renters in the housing market. Embracing technology and social media, these young adults are most on the lookout for top-notch, affordable apartments. They seem to know exactly what they are looking for when it comes to renting an apartment, what amenities they need and how much they are willing to spend.

According to a survey RENTCafé recently conducted, Gen Z wants the best quality apartments and residential communities, featuring the most technology-advanced features, while not spending a lot of money on renting it. From apartments with high-speed internet (27%), to technology (62%) and technologically-advanced features, Gen Z renters search for the most affordable but high-quality rentals they can find to fit their needs.

Gen Z’s: the Instagram-ers

As they indicated in the survey, 36% of Gen Z chose Instagram as their top social media channel, followed by the 17% that prefer Facebook. In fact, out of all the age groups that responded to the survey, they are the only ones to prefer Instagram over Facebook. So, not only are they changing the future of social media channel usage, but they also have a different way of going about apartment searching.

62% of Gen Z indicated technology is extremely and very important in their community

One of the most important things for Gen Z is no doubt technology. And not just in everyday life, but also in their apartment communities. In fact, 62% of the respondents to the survey considered technology as being extremely and very important. As a matter of fact, technologically advanced features weigh more in choosing a rental than having extra space, such as an extra bedroom. This includes having mobile apps for managing rent and maintenance, text rent payments, as well as smart locks, thermostats and energy-efficient appliances in their apartments.

Gen Z renters consider high-speed internet to be the most important amenity

The most important amenity a Gen Z-er looks for in an apartment community is high-speed internet (27%). Although high-speed internet is undoubtedly important, it comes before a gym or fitness center (14%), parking (24%), and a pool and sundeck (10%). Even so, these are all things that centennials find more significant than the other generations. So, essentially, they are looking for a community that tends strictly to their needs, without showing much interest toward amenities such as green spaces or social areas.

Property ratings and reviews are the take it or leave it decision factors for Gen Z

Google search is the first step for 39% of centennials when looking for apartments. More than the other age groups of renters, Gen Z prefers trying this option before looking on apartment search websites. They then go about apartment searching by filtering the listings based on their preferences and by looking at photos, followed by checking the property’s ratings and reviews before deciding if the property is worth touring in person (30%).

Although people in this generation are technology fans and experts, when it comes to online and social media resources, in-person tours are still important when it comes to choosing an apartment to rent. In fact, 72% of Gen Z prefers eventually touring apartments in person, whether it’s with an agent or self-guided.

Affordable apartments and top-quality amenities are a must for Gen Z

It’s no surprise that all renters are looking for affordable housing, as even 78% of the respondents to the survey indicted. However, there is no age group more interested in finding an apartment that is affordable than Generation Z. Nearly 90% of them said this is the type of apartment they were looking to rent, which is at least 10% more than the other age groups.

However, the quality of the apartment is not something they are eager to give up either. In fact, as opposed to all of the other ages of renters, Gen Z are the most willing to rent with a roommate only to afford rent for a top-quality apartment, as they care more about the quality of the apartment building and apartment finishes.

Gen Z is the new renter age group that know exactly what they are looking for in their rentals. While not willing to give up quality and comfort, they demonstrate a level of maturity when realizing that there is a limit on how much they can spend on rent. Therefore, with a clear vision of finding an affordable, superior, fit-to-their-needs apartment, Gen Z relies on their tech savvy-ness and resources to make their way into the rental market.

by Sanziana Bona
Sanziana Bona is a creative writer and researcher for RENTCafé, with a strong passion for the dynamic real estate market, covering topics from lifestyle to market trends. Sanziana’s work has been featured in CNBC, CBS News, NBC New York, The Press Democrat, Wolf Street and The Registry San Francisco, among others. Prior to joining the RENTCafé team, she wrote extensive analysis papers on world topics such as human rights violations, international laws, and world conflicts, as well as arts literature, in both English and Spanish.

Related stories

Closeout: Yes, They Can Cover Art

Closeout: Yes, They Can

Can-One USA Manufacturing Plant, Nashua, New Hampshire
Ethically Blending Design Concepts During the Multifamily Boom Cover Art

Ethically Blending Design Concepts During the Multifamily Boom

By Blima Ehrentreu
With multifamily becoming the predominantly accessible housing source, developers are navigating the ethics of incorporating fashion, function, technology and sustainability into the designs of these projects.
Closeout: The Water Is Wide Cover Art

Closeout: The Water Is Wide

A new fixed-span bridge replaces two old bridges—one fixed-span, the other swing-span—connecting Harkins Island, North Carolina, to the mainland.

Follow us

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Stay in the know with the latest industry news, technology and our weekly features. Get early access to any CE events and webinars.