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Gearing up for Generation Alpha’s entry to the property market

Private Property South Africa
Private Property Reporter |
Gearing up for Generation Alpha’s entry to the property market

Generation Alpha are those born between 2010 and 2024. They are the first generation to be born entirely in the 21st century, and numbers are expected to reach over two-billion globally given the current weekly birth rate, which is estimated to be 2.8 million.

In 20-30 years the youngest Alpha’s will be considering their property needs, and the oldest Alpha’s may have already become property owners. Whilst no-one can predict how the property market will look in forthcoming decades, at least with any accuracy, what is assured that technology will play a major role in Alpha’s decision-making. After all this is the first generation that has grown up in a fully digital world.

Characteristics of Generation Alpha

This is a group that will, and does, share traits with all the generations that have gone before but may be hyper-advanced in how they engage socially. This will largely directly impact on how they want to experience a lifestyle. Some of Alpha characteristics that have already been determined include:

Hyper-connectivity: Alpha children already demonstrate the value they place on being connected to not just their own peers, but also like-minded strangers that share the same philosophies and thinking.

Technological beings: The hyper-connectiveness trait means they are constantly seeking new forms of communication and learning, opening up a broad choice of where they will fit into the world and how they can short-circuit long-winded processes.

Independent: They want to make their own decisions based on their own research. They particularly want their individual needs and preferences to be honoured and respected.

Digital identity: Alpha’s strongly embrace their own unique characteristics, often portraying those as a brand and marketing themselves across a myriad of different tech platforms.

Visual beings: Alpha’s prefer heightened visual communications and engagements, which will likely be entrenched through the video games they play as youth. This in turn produces individuals with strong eye-hand co-ordination and the ability to switch between different tasks.

Challenges the Alpha Generation will face

Psychologists and neuroscientists are suggesting that the characteristics displayed by growing Alpha’s point towards a number of negatives, which includes:

  • Reduced attention span. The use of a number of different screens at the same time, can create lapses in concentration, which may impede their ability to properly process information when making important decisions.

  • Less physical connection. Being online for the majority of day, reduces the opportunities to interact physically in play and learning activities. This can create socialisation problems in the future.

  • Less creativity. With information readily to hand online, Alpha’s will be able to find solutions to challenges without the need to think those through themselves. This is an aspect that will also impact on their ability to learn new skills or acquire broader knowledge on a subject, meaning levels of learning will be dictated by a ‘need-to-know’ rather than understanding the deeper cycle of why things are the way they are, or have been created in the first place.

  • Less happiness. Smartphones and social media usage are already manifesting in an increase in depression, anxiety, and loneliness among the youth. This, and the lack of physical activities and engagement, can cause Alpha’s to feel isolated and become introverted, especially if screen fatigue is ignored.

  • Large consumers. Alpha’s will be, and are already being, exposed to massive marketing and other advertising campaigns. They are also driven to compare themselves to the haves and have-not’s of their peers.

  • Virtual vs real world. They may have difficulty identifying the difference between the physical world and that of a virtual world.

  • Easily influenced. Will buy into hype and propaganda more readily, even to levels of trust that may be misplaced.

What Alpha’s will and do care about:

With tech advancing at a rapid pace, there is no way of knowing exactly how new innovations will change life as we know it today. However, what we do know, based on current digital and near-future experiences, is that Alpha’s will be:

  • Driving fully automatic vehicles, which will reduce fatalities considerably, and offer the ability to pre-programme destination and route preferences.

  • Fighting against climate change and for a transition to a more sustainable planet. Their eco-warrior attitude will direct how they want to live, and will put pressure on producers to limit earth’s natural resources, and reduce packaging waste.

  • Using a virtual assistant or AI that is programmed to respond to the needs of the Alpha host based on their unique tastes and habits. Such assistants will also be able to make informed decisions on behalf of the Alpha, freeing up time for the Alpha to engage in other pursuits.

  • Using more tech accessories, such as smart watches, that will provide information around the health and wellbeing of the Alpha. These will even be able to provide warnings or diagnose a illness or situation before it manifests as serious or irreversible.

While there are still some years to go before Generation Alpha will make decisions about buying or renting properties, property developers and home builders should at least be ensuring that what they design today at least caters as much as possible to Alpha’s and tech adoption.

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