Millennials are the largest generation of first-time buyers and are changing the way we buy properties. Results from a US-based survey last month (Zillow, 2021) have revealed that the majority of millennials (59%) would be at least somewhat confident making an offer on a home after viewing a virtual tour without having toured in person (Cision, 2021). While 39% would be ‘comfortable’ buying a home entirely online.
As could be expected, when applied across all generations surveyed the result is less: approximately a quarter (23%) of respondents said they’d be comfortable to complete the whole process of renting, buying or selling a home online. Still, this is a significant proportion of buyers. Alongside this data two things stand out:
- Overwhelmingly, across generations, buyers want access to digital tools to facilitate their search and buy process. 80% stated they’d like to view 3D virtual tours and digital floor plans when shopping for a property.
- The strong demand for virtual technology from millennials indicates a transformation in property buying trends in the post-pandemic world.
As Zillow explains, the Millennial generation, born between 1981 and 1996, reached adulthood in the digital age. More than any other generation, they are comfortable making major life purchases online – be it furniture, jewellery or cars. This now evidently includes property. They are the largest generational group in the country, and significantly, are now aging into their home-buying years (mid-30s).
What does this mean in practice?
That the generation driving housing demand for years to come are simultaneously demanding virtual tools to deliver it. The use of these tools has exploded during the pandemic but what is now clear is that they will remain in place long after the pandemic is over.
Virtual experiences like 360 virtual tours are increasingly seen as a ‘win-win’ in the property world. Sometimes combined with drone footage to give an aerial perspective, they allow viewers to immerse themselves into a range of properties at the click of a button. They open doors instantaneously without having to take time off or make appointments. The viewer gets to explore room-to-room as many times as they like; from anywhere in the world, at any time of the day or night.
This is especially helpful for those who are looking to move to a different region or country, or for whom travelling is difficult. And subsequently virtual tours make it possible to widen the buyer’s search, visit more properties in less time than in-person viewings, and has even proven to result in faster decision making.
For both buyers and sellers, quality virtual experiences allow properties to stand out from the rest. They attract more hits, increase a home’s desirability and sale outcome (Hastings Legal). They provide a more realistic view of a property online when compared to regular images; helping viewers to understand the space.
“It’s clear that strong demand from the next generation of buyers will keep real estate technology in place long after the pandemic is over. Digital tools rapidly adopted during the pandemic not only make home shopping safer, they make it faster and easier.” Matt Daimler, Zillow Senior Vice President of Product.
Other interesting statistics
From recent reports we can see that:
- 85% of all prospective buyers start their property search online (Hastings Legal).
- Listings with a 360 virtual tour tour sold, on average, 10% faster; were saved by buyers 32% more than homes without; and received, on average, 29% more views than listings without (Cision, 2021).
- Gen Z follows closely behind millennials as major adopters of this technology in the property world. More than one in three (36%) zoomers stated they’d be comfortable buying a home online, compared to 7% of baby boomers and 19% of Gen X (Cision, 2021).
- Finally, Virtual Reality technology has taken the industry several steps further. It is allowing house builders to give prospective buyers a virtual tour before construction has even started, to demonstrate how a new home will look when complete. It has even started to replace furnished showhomes (Hastings Legal).
The #VirtualRevolution is happening now. Covid has forced the property sector to embrace technology in an unprecedented way. And the advantages have become evident. This, alongside the demands of a tech-savvy millennial generation – the property market’s most important client for years to come – means that virtual tools for buying and selling property will be here to stay, and will likely become ever more sophisticated.
If you’re interested in creating or upgrading your 360 Virtual Tours for your property, please get in touch with our award-winning team. We’re proud to be market leaders in virtual brand experiences, and are on hand to explore ideas together. Or, start by taking a look at our portfolio of case studies for inspiration!