The Generation Gap is Alive and Well

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

According to an international real estate expert, Steve Murray, who will be addressing a large South African real estate group later in the year, the year that you were born will affect the way you live your life and what sort of property you will buy. While this may sound like a bit of an urban myth, it appears that generally speaking people who were born in a specific period share certain traits that define the way they live.

As things stand, the human race can be divided into separate categories that include:

Baby-Boomers - a name attributed to those born in the post-war years. Born between 1946 and 1964, this group rejected the traditional values of their parents and expected the world to become a better place to live in during their lifetimes. The wealthiest and healthiest of all the groups, these people considered themselves somewhat special and as the name suggests were the biggest of the categories.

Generation X is attributed to those born after the post-World War ll “baby boom” ended somewhere in the mid-60s and early 70s. These individuals’ lives were shaped by factors that included the Cold War, the international oil crisis as well as the various economic crises that they have lived through.

Although there appears to be some dispute as to when Generation Y babies were born, generally speaking it is usually credited to those born during the mid-70s early 80s up to the year 2000. Interestingly enough this group is also often referred to as the Peter Pan Generation because of their tendency of delaying their rites of passage into adulthood and living with their parents for far longer than previous generations.

Although you could ask how the era in which a person is born could affect property purchases, it appears that there is a distinct link. Peter Gilmour, the chairman of RE/MAX of Southern Africa says that a positive sentiment has returned, particularly among professionals who can afford to take advantage of current market conditions in both local and international property markets. “It is interesting to note that predications from around the globe anticipate that Generation X will lead the property market to recovery.”

Knowing how to deal with different people is paramount to both the agent dealing with the sale and the owner who is selling the property. For example, according to reports published on www.realtrends.com and Teleclass4U.com, before Generation X or Generation Y will go and work for a company, hire an agent or buy almost any product, they research it thoroughly online.

Ensuring that your property is advertised correctly has become very important. Lifestyle is everything to these groups and the average buyer in this category is willing to accept a lesser property in order to have access to their preferred type of lifestyle. With that in mind anyone in this group that is considering investing in property will research an area thoroughly to ensure that it meets their needs as far as local restaurants, nearby recreational activities and anything else that makes living in that particular location special.

While everyone loves a bargain, Generation X and Y really appreciate a discount. One of the key phrases amongst these groups is “I want my money’s worth”. Value for money appears to be of paramount importance and although they may have the money and will be more than willing to part with it, what they are buying must be construed as good value for money.

Although one could ask how on earth these factors affect me, an older seller, dealing with a younger buying generation can prove difficult if you don’t understand their mind-sets. Simply put, these people operate differently and expect you to not only understand their needs but to well and truly come to the party in all aspects of the transaction.

Gilmour says that insights such as these are especially pertinent to the local market place where the most noticeable increase in the property market buying share in South Africa was among the Generation X group who made up 28,1% of the total property purchasers in the first quarter of this year.

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