Snag Today’s Renters, No Matter What Generation They Are

Marketing your rental property to potential rental applicants is tricky enough, but marketing to a particular generation of renters can be even trickier. As times change, the needs and wants of renters can shift, and what you think might be a selling point on your property could prove to be the opposite. Take a look at these recent renter marketing trends to see how your rental property holds up. And, who knows? You might just find you’re the perfect fit for the newest generation.

The Renters of Today

While you might be racing to learn more about your property’s target demographic or get the inside scoop on the newest renters on the block, you’ve got to start with the basics. Who are today’s renters, and what do they want?

Although your residents might come from multiple generations, Zillow Group reports that half of all renters are Millennials (ages 24 to 38). According to their 2018 Consumer Housing Trends Report, combined with Generation Z (ages 18 to 23), young adults consist of 65% of all renters! Considering that the U.S. Census Bureau showed that Millennials had reached one quarter of the nation’s population, larger than the 75.4 million Baby Boomer generation, this might come as no surprise.

Gen Z

18 - 23

0 %
of the rental market


24 - 38

0 %
of the rental market

Gen X

39 - 53

0 %
of the rental market

Baby Boomers

54 - 73

0 %
of the rental market

Please note that renters aged 74 and up (also known as the Silent Generation) only consist of 3% of the rental market, and thus will not be factored into the later part of this article.

As you can imagine, what renters want in a rental property not only varies based on generational preferences, but in familial status, occupation, and more. For example, Zillow’s data suggested that the majority of renters live with others – with pets occupying 46% of all rental units surveyed. The wants and needs of a pet owner will be vastly different than a young family or a retired couple, and you’ll want to factor these differences into your marketing strategy.

That being said, there are quite a few similarities in what Baby Boomers, Generation X, Y (Millennials), and Z want. Collectively, Zillow’s renters showed that they value safety, affordability, and air conditioning. 39% of renters even stated that they would prefer to e-sign their lease – which could be a good opportunity to grow your internal leasing processes!


Safety, tied with walkable neighborhoods, close proximity to shopping or other activities, and public transportation, is the top factor for renters!


82% of renters rate staying within their initial rent budget ‘very’ or ‘extremely important!’

Air Conditioning

Want to add an amenity? Think: air conditioning. 66% of renters value good old’ A/C. The hotter the climate, the more passionate renters are about air conditioning.

Community Spaces

Less than 20% of renters rated amenities like pools, fitness centers, community rec spaces and rooftop gardens or decks as important.

While the lack of interest in community spaces might shake things up for multifamily housing marketing, you certainly don’t have to worry if the time you spend posting vacant listings is going to waste. According to The Manifest, “more than 80% of every generation uses social media at least once per day,” although the total number of social media platforms varies between generations. If you do decide to invest in one social media platform, consider YouTube. In their survey, it showed that the majority of all generations use YouTube once a week (including more than half of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers).

The Generational Renter: What’s the Difference?

If you’re trying to attract a particular generation of renters to your property, you’ll first need to consider your target renter’s stage of life. At 18 to 23, most Generation Z-ers are looking for their first rental close to their school or work, and won’t be quite so picky when choosing a rental. In fact, more than half of Gen Z renters surveyed by Zillow said they’d be interested in choosing a furnished or partially furnished rental.

On the other hand, Millennials and Gen X renters will have likely lived in quite a few rental properties and have a better idea as to what they want. Millennial and Gen X renters might be married, with their own children (Pew Research found that about 48% of Millennial women in 2016 were moms). They might be already considering leaving the rental market and purchasing a home as well. Experian reports that Millennials are officially making moves into homeownership, showing that the mortgage debt for this demographic rose up by 6.8% just within the past year.’s 2018 report also backs up this trend.

As Baby Boomers hold a surprising 12% of the renter population, this demographic of renters is looking for flexibility. As CNBC put it, “Boomers are seeking something urban…They want to be close to where their kids and grandkids are.” Plus, they have the credit score to back it up. It’s no surprise that Baby Boomers have the highest credit score, at an average of 700 in 2017.

Whether your property fits in with the new kids on the block or a mix of generations, understanding the similarities and differences of these renters can help you hone in on your property’s marketing strategy. The better you understand your desired renters, the better you attract similar renters.

Which generation is your ideal renter? Let us know in the comments section!

Comments (3)

  1. Pat Knueven


    I am sorry to say that if you are trying to attract a certain kind or certain age of people as tenants it will be looked as being discriminatory or steering by the so-called equal rights outfit and the so-called fair housing people. I would not do that.

    • Reply

      Hi Pat,

      Your comment notification was missed so apologies for this late reply. Thank you for your feedback, and I agree that being mindful of discriminatory practices is always something to be aware of – especially when marketing a property.

      In regards to what we are recommending, the goal is to understand your audience so the listing is relevant – not to specify that you will only rent to tenants of a certain group. For example, if a property is located near a college campus, then having an online rental app with online listings and highlighting nearby amenities like the public library or restaurants with good study spaces would make sense. If a family with 3 generations living under one roof applies for that property then of course you should treat them with the same equal fairness as anyone else. The intent of our content is to capitalize on your property, area, and amenities in a way that is most likely to capture the attention of people who might be most interested in renting.

      As always, thank you for your time and consideration in reading and responding to our content!

  2. Pingback: 4 Reasons To Install A Smart Doorbell In Your Rental - Vera by Ezlo

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