CBRE undertook a large-scale study of cross-generational attitudes, with surveys of 20,000 people globally, to understand how baby boomers through to Gen-Z will want to live, work, and shop in the future.
One of the standout observations is the number of people who want to move, or have, after living through the worst (at least so far) of the pandemic. In general, a full third of people say they plan to move within the next two years, with the US showing “the strongest desire to relocate” among developed countries. Another 24% did move within the last two years, although that would include changing residence due to the pandemic’s effects as well as, in the US at least, already existing major demographic shifts
Of those planning to move, nearly half at 49% wanted to move closer to a city center. Another 41% sought a “more remote location,” whether in the same city or a different one. And then 10% looked to move to a different country.
Breaking the numbers down globally by age, 48% OF Gen-Z and 46% of late millennial respondents said they planned to move within the next two years. The number continued to drop off by age: early millennials, 35%; Gen-X, 28%; and baby boomers, 20%. The latter two groups have higher levels of home ownership, that could affect interest in moving. According to the CBRE figures, half of baby boomers own their homes and no longer have a mortgage.
The balance of moving toward or away from a city center also showed age-related patterns. For Gen-Z, 53% wanted to move closer and 35%, further away; late millennials, 50%/41%; early millennials, 50%/42%; Gen-X, 45%/44%; and boomers, 44%/48%.
“Regarding how we live, this is manifesting in consumers’ desire to seek higher quality properties offering better facilities and surroundings, which has replaced affordability and the desire to save money as the strongest reasons to move,” CBRE wrote. “However, the current economic climate may temper this appetite.”
CBRE ended the section on living choices with advice for investors. One is to “capture robust housing demand,” as it will continue to grow globally, although “short-term buying intentions could be affected by rising interest rates and the prospect of a recession.”
Another suggestion: building housing for younger people in urban centers. “Locations close to business districts should meet such demand from this demographic cohort, which typically seeks easy access to offices and supporting amenities.”
Third, “retain focus on placemaking,” by emphasizing a property’s surroundings more than the unit. “Alluring yet functional designs will be needed for interiors, outdoor areas and surroundings and should support working from home.”