Reshaping home buying for millennials
For those born in the eighties and coming of age in the noughties, otherwise known as millennials, the chance to buy a home of their own is hard won. While their parents enjoyed the boom years of cheap credit, low property prices and high employment rates, millennials have experienced the polar opposite in terms of economic growth and housing market stability.
But for the tens of thousands of first time buyers, who, through sheer determination and a helping hand from the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’, are entering the property market, their expectations are high. Growing up in the age of the internet, where ITC was taught alongside Maths and English at school and smartphones seem as obvious an invention as the printing press, these twenty and thirty-somethings are not used to waiting patiently for things to happen. They are the generation who live their lives through social media, use emojis for expressions and conduct their professional affairs at the tap of an app. So in order to win their affection and business, worth an estimated £800 million a year, industry leaders are reshaping the home buying process to meet their expectations.
One of the first to react was Rightmove, followed by Zoopla and Onthemarket.com, offering home buyers the opportunity to search for new homes from the comfort of their sofa. And while traditionalists lamented the demise of the high street estate agent, entrepreneurs capitalised on the gap in the market with the creation of hybrid agencies. Promising fixed fee selling, online marketing and ‘local property experts’ these companies have answered the need of millennials to be in control and connected to the process of buying a home, resulting in the likes of Purplebricks and House Network seeing their reputation and market share grow.
However despite these advancements, one of the biggest complaints from home buyers is that the conveyancing process is slow, complicated and clients feel removed from the details – especially as many high street solicitors still operate as they did when millennials were toddlers.
Heading the pack in terms of technology driven innovations within the conveyancing sector is My Home Move. Through its online service eWay, which provides home movers with the ability to manage their conveyancing via a smartphone or tablet, My Home Move is revolutionising the customer experience of buying or selling a property. Complete with interactive forms, secure online payments and push notifications (available via the recently launched eWay app which ranks as the most popular conveyancing choice on Apple’s App Store) My Home Move’s service is akin to online banking.
The millennials’ demands for a quicker, slicker and tech driven world is continuing to inform innovations. Virtual reality offers the potential to replace floor plans and photographs completely while in the future, augmented reality could take the place of viewings – it is estimated that by 2020, the year millennials start to hit forty and the age at which they’ll be looking for their family/forever home – virtual reality in property will be worth $3 billion globally according to Goldman Sachs. And so while commentators debate Britain’s exit from Europe and its impact on the UK property market, one thing seems certain, the future’s for reshaping.