Pandemic heightens generational property divide

Pandemic heightens generational property divide

Potential homebuyers from Generations Y and Z have different real estate outlooks than Gen Xers

People browse a model of a high-end condo project at a living fair. According to research conducted by Terra Media and Consulting, the pandemic affected new home purchases for certain age groups. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
People browse a model of a high-end condo project at a living fair. According to research conducted by Terra Media and Consulting, the pandemic affected new home purchases for certain age groups. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

Gen Y and Z homebuyers remain concerned over income security and future uncertainty, while Gen X property owners appear able to quickly recover from the pandemic, according to a study by Terra Media and Consulting.

Managing director Sumitra Wongpakdee said the pandemic had a bigger impact on those younger than 40 years old, as people aged 40 and older were more mature and could adjust to the situation.

"After a tough year in 2020, Gen X rebounded from the impact and went back to their normal life," she said.

"Homebuyers in this generation saw a minimal impact on their income. They enjoyed price discounts and promotions offered by developers."

However, Ms Sumitra said Gen Y and Z are still suffering from the pandemic, dealing with lower incomes and business uncertainty.

"Gen Y and Z are anxious to balance their needs. They took longer to consider purchases, delaying buying decisions for up to a year," she said.

Terra Media conducted market research interviews on Nov 22-25 among seven focus groups comprising members of Gen X, Y and Z aged 22-53 years old who intended to buy a condo, townhouse or single detached house within two years.

Gen X and Y had personal income of more than 50,000 baht per month, while Gen Z had at least 35,000 baht. Both groups had a household income of more than 100,000 baht a month.

According to the research, the pandemic had an impact on buying a new home.

Gen Z homebuyers were uncertain about the future, and most of them needed to seek a second job.

However, they still wanted to buy a home because it is seen as a safe place to work and achieve their goals.

Gen Y, whose income was more stable, experienced weaker income and job security as a result of the pandemic, but the crisis did not change their views on owning real estate because property was seen as long-term security.

Meanwhile, Gen X was happy with the cheaper mortgage interest rates on offer. They also sought better deals and attractive promotions from developers.

When choosing a home, Gen X said they needed more space to spend time with family and work from home.

Ms Sumitra said the pandemic had had a bigger impact on those younger than 40 years old, as over-40s were more mature and could adjust to the situation.

The interviews asked the generations about their reasons for choosing a new home among the three housing types.

For single detached houses, it was about building stability in life, obtaining more space and improving their lifestyle with more facilities.

Townhomes allowed homeowners to balance their needs while controlling their budget. This group of buyers could afford a single detached house, but they were satisfied with less space as only two people were living together.

"Some wanted a townhome to do business, as it can be a contact address," Ms Sumitra said.

"Townhomes can be used as a shop, as most of the projects are big with a large number of units where many people live as a community."

Those looking to buy a condo wanted a convenient lifestyle and a nice community.

They also needed more privacy, which included facilities offering a private zone, while some had investment as a purpose, she said.

Across all three housing types, Ms Sumitra said, there were four common trends.

One was modern design, which should be trendy and equipped with modern innovations to increase convenience.

"To meet this requirement, developers should create excitement for customers and improve the brand image," she said.

Developers should also have a few types of unit plans as customers want customisable functions, said Ms Sumitra.

A lower floor might not require a bedroom, but rather a TV room or a kid's room. This means furniture and fittings should not be fixed, she said.

Ms Sumitra said facilities like parks, gyms, running tracks, swimming pools and pet areas are must-have options in new housing developments.

"The warranty process also needs to be quick and easy without dispute, particularly for the upper-end segment," she said.

"Customers need quick responses from after-sales services, meaning they should be easy to reach."

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