Redfin’s Scholarship Winner Examines Gen Z and Millennials Impact on the Real Estate Industry

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The Redfin Scholarship is a way for Redfin to help students on their journey through higher education. The scholarship application period occurs twice yearly with awards given to a student in both the spring and fall. Here is the student essay that won the 2018 spring scholarship. Congrats Lauren LaCasse!

Essay Prompt: How do you think Gen Z and Millennials are changing the real estate industry? What do these generations value in housing that previous generations may not have?

Until recently, the American Dream has been overwhelmingly driven by consumerism, a lifestyle which encourages the acquisition of things, real estate included, in ever-increasing amounts. Under this ideology, people consume goods hoping to find happiness within them, a dangerous inclination. Fortunately, this paradigm is shifting as some Millennials and Gen Z wake up to the damaging effects of consumerism. Those seeking to be released from the shackles of consumerism are turning to minimalism, a lifestyle which encourages the removal of things that distract us from what we value most such as other people, places, activities and experiences. As the minimalist lifestyle becomes more popular among Millennials and Gen Z, the real estate industry will see a decrease in the ownership of traditional, long-term and stationary homes because these generations value mobility more than previous generations.

Living arrangements typically associated with the American Dream are becoming less suitable for Millennials and Gen Z as they adopt lifestyles geared towards minimalism. A traditional living arrangement as defined by previous generations is a house, relatively permanent and immobile, but with newer generations favoring lifestyles centered around travel and experience, these types of dwellings can feel rather restrictive. Although some members of these younger generations will continue to pursue traditional living arrangements, I predict the real estate industry will see a large increase in renting rather than ownership. Renting caters to a mobile lifestyle as it’s easy to relocate given the minimal commitment it requires. In addition, ownership of fewer things, as promoted by minimalism, requires less space and because of this, I predict the trend of small houses and mini houses will take root. These dwelling are typically between 400 and 1,000 sqft and some of them are constructed on trailers making them mobile and ideal for travel. As a result of the freedom found in renting and tiny houses, Millennials and Gen Z are likely to pursue these arrangements over traditional arrangements to suit an unconstrained way of life.

With their evolving values and ideals geared towards experiences rather than possessions, Millennials and Gen Z are likely to choose housing that enables an unrestricted and mobile lifestyle; Renting and small homes are both viable options. Although a permanent residence has been a long-standing housing standard in terms of the American Dream, these younger generations have the potential to revolutionize the real estate industry.

Student Biography

Lauren LaCasse was born and raised in Minnesota. She grew up near the Twin Cities and graduated from Roseville Area High School in the top 5% of her class. She is attending Hamline University, located in Saint Paul, to pursue further education.

The fall application period is from November 1 – January 31. Click here for more information.








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