Millennials, the “avocado toast” generation, have caught a lot of flak in the media. Often characterized as frivolous spenders, lazy quiet quitters, or entitled participation trophy winners, Millennials are blamed for killing everything from diamonds to department stores — and even entire industries.
Today, these broad generalizations are increasingly considered dated, and Millennials aren’t so young anymore, either. The oldest Millennials today are 42 years old, and their spending power and influence is growing as they mature. In 2023, the Millennial generation finally shifted from renter-majority to homeowner-majority; when it comes to real estate, they now have skin in the game.
What will that mean for the future of homeowner associations? While it’s easy to assume HOAs will be yet another “death by Millennial” victim, we didn’t want to. Instead, we surveyed hundreds of homeowners across the U.S. to learn about their current experience in their communities, what it would take to increase their involvement, how technology plays a role in overall satisfaction, and what they’d like to see in the future.
We shared the results in our Millenniold whitepaper, and they might surprise you. Here are some of the top takeaways.
Given that HOA sentiment seems to be declining (another narrative perpetuated by mass media), we hypothesized Millennials would view their experiences with associations negatively. We were wrong!
81% of Millennials — more than any other generation — rated their experience living in an HOA/COA as good or very good. 64% of Millennials plan to actively look for homes within an HOA/COA for their next move.
Our survey suggests that the younger a homeowner is, the more likely they will find HOA laws, bylaws and management regulations too restrictive. This is yet another reason for HOAs to consider reviewing and revisiting their CCRs, which often contain outdated verbiage that could lead to consequences like lawsuits or harm owners of different backgrounds.
Millennials better understand the value of professionally managed communities through the lens of engagement. While they are inclined to say their HOA helps them get to know their neighbors better, Millennials aren’t as convinced that the neighborhood couldn’t execute well-planned events and functions without the HOA.
This underscores the importance of streamlining and automating menial, time-consuming tasks so property managers can focus more on community-building efforts. Our latest State of the Industry survey found that most managers also want this.
More than any other generation, Millennials feel that their associations’ technologies are very poor and clunky. The top technologies on their wish lists are online community forums, online voting systems, a mobile app for payment processing and communications, and online deliveries of financials and CCR documents. Gen Z responders trended similarly and were even more likely to request online voting systems and mobile apps.
The bottom line: Digital tools that drive engagement will be increasingly critical to keeping homeowners satisfied.
Many management company executives feel that younger homeowners are simply uninterested in joining the Board. This isn’t necessarily the case, according to our survey respondents. 45% of Millennials said they would be interested, but reported time constraints and pressure as their top deterrents. To recruit them, management companies should be transparent about the level of commitment required and establish clear expectations and responsibilities.
Check out the full whitepaper to learn more about our survey findings and how management companies can improve homeowner satisfaction and engagement.