Boomer, Gen X, Millennial–Same Difference When it Comes to Renting

Everywhere you turn nowadays, there are articles on Millennials. Of course, in the apartment industry, this is no exception, especially in terms of what amenities Gen Y is looking for.

(Spoiler alert: It’s WiFi.)

But are Millennials so different from other generations? In all the articles about designing for Gen Y, it’s always mentioned that they are more tech savvy. That they have a group mentality. That they care more about sustainability. That they for some reason find handlebar mustaches the pinnacle of high fashion (with nary a woman to tie to the train tracks in sight).


But the times, they are a changin’.

You know who else appreciates wifi-enabled apartments, or the ability to look at apartment reviews online, or the ability to pay rent online? Everyone. Seriously. It seems like everyone has a smart phone or a tablet or is on Facebook nowadays, so tech-y apartments appeal to everyone.

What about the group mentality? Apartments try to lure Millennials with cool events and social opportunities. But, recently, because of the economy, or wanting to be near their kids, or maybe just boredom, many Boomers and members of Gen X are eschewing homeownership out in the suburbs and are moving in droves to the city to live in apartments. And they want to make new friends and try new activities as well. Everyone enjoys these social events.

And right now, everyone is green. I was in Brooklyn the other day and came across a farmer’s market (how cliche, right? At least I wasn’t drinking Pabst at the time) with a compost booth. And everyone was lining up to add their purse-full of food garbage. Old, young, didn’t matter. Everyone wanted to do their part. Green elements in apartments are big draws for everyone, not just Millennials.

As for the mustaches, well, sure beats mutton chops, at least.

When designing a new apartment, maybe we shouldn’t try to market solely to Millennials. Because while the generations have their differences, those differences are mattering less and less. Sorry Boomers and Gen X, you’re totally becoming trendy.

Welcome to the dark side.

What is your take on designing for the different generations? Do you think there still is a difference in apartment wants and needs?

-Jessica Fiur, News Editor 

Photo credit: Vilmos Varga