Last weekend Matt Keane, VP Guaranteed Rate (mortgage brokerage) and I were sponsors of The Brooklyn Baby Expo at Industry City in Brooklyn, NY. We chose to sponsor this event because it is a great place to meet New York area families who need more space and may be thinking of a move to the “burbs.” There were easily 100 different vendors. as well as entertainment for the kids and seminars for the parents. Even though it was cold and rainy 100’s of families poured through to enjoy the festivities. I couldn’t believe how many were pregnant with toddlers in tow — it was quite obvious there is another baby boom going on.
It’s not just an anecdotal observation, but has been reported on by research companies. According to Pew Research in January 2015, “…this year, the “Millennial” generation is projected to surpass the Baby Boom generation as the nation’s largest living generation, according to the population projections released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Millennials (whom we define as between ages 18 to 34 in 2015) are projected to number 75.3 million, surpassing the projected 74.9 million Boomers (ages 51 to 69). The Gen X population (ages 35 to 50 in 2015) is projected to outnumber the Boomers by 2028. ”
This generation is growing and so are their housing needs. This past Sunday, I hosted an open house in South Orange, NJ which is an ideal commute for NYC, and we had 35 groups attend. I’d like to suggest it is my incredible marketing talent that drew such a crowd, but location, updates to kitchen and baths, price and pure ‘need” is what drove such a huge response. The Millenials need space and their options, likes and wants are very different from generations past. One of their top priorities is “walkability.” Suburbs that have downtown centers and offer easy access are experiencing enormous demand from Millenials who need to find a home. Can you imagine living in a 2 bedroom with this activity?
It was also surprising to see the number of Millenial entrepreneurs exhibiting their family friendly businesses at the show. There were nanny search services, authors, potty training classes, pre-schools, camps, and E-tail sites that ship gifts to new moms. The Millenials I know personally (including many past and present clients and one of own kids), do not act as they are portrayed by the media. Yes, maybe they took home a trophy just for playing on a team, but to say they are lazy or entitled just doesn’t jive with the hard-working Millenials in this area of the world. I think they are vastly different in their need for flexibility and their yearn for work/life balance. As a result they seem to enjoy a more entrepreneurial spirit and they take chances.
There are so many Millenials coming of “parental” age at the same time, there is a bit of a housing crisis going on in many areas. The demand is higher than the amount of inventory, driving down the number of sales. Yet, the prices are going up. however, while this generation may pay $700,000 for a starter home, the interest rates are so low it is not as expensive as it sounds. In many cases it is equivalent to the rent they pay on their 2 bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. Baby Boomers are passing the housing baton to the Millenials, and they in turn are creating another baby boom.