“There’s a Cultural Backlash Against Living the Life We (Yes, I’m a Millennial) Grew up With.”

This is a guest article written by Paul Burke and first appeared in our collaborative e-book “The Future of Property,” which features 17 thought leadership articles covering PropTech, property investment and housing. You can download your free copy here.

Paul Burke is the CEO and Founder of RentHoop, a mobile platform that’s reinventing the way the next generation finds roommates. The fast-growing company has earned notoriety for its swiping feature, reminiscent to popular dating apps. Paul founded the company after struggling to find a roommate through Craigslist. Paul is a graduate of Western Washington University and previously worked at the startup Porch.com.


“There’s a cultural backlash against living the life we (yes, I’m a millennial) grew up with.”

There’s a shift happening right before our eyes. Blame it on the last global recession that shook the real estate market or the fundamental change in the way millennials want to live, but the future of property is changing fast.

It has long been seen that owning a home is part of the American (and British) dream. President Bill Clinton went as far to say Americans were entitled to it. [1] Yet, millennials seem less likely to purchase a home even if they wanted to. Ballooning student debt is delaying home-buying by up to 7 years according to a study done by the National Association of Realtors. [2] Paying off student debt while saving for a down payment is a juggling act few millennials want part of.

“In addition to the economics, there’s a cultural backlash against living the life we (yes, I’m a millennial) grew up with.”

In the meantime, the rental market is hot. Rents have been rising while incomes have remained mostly the same. The effect is a historically high amount of people rent-burdened, spending more than 30% of their income on rent according to the Furman Center. [3]

In addition to the economics, there’s a cultural backlash against living the life we (yes, I’m a millennial) grew up with. The responsibility of a home and mortgage doesn’t reflect the remote-working, Instagram-obsessed millennial’s values the way it did our parents.

And while real estate is thought of as an industry that slowly adapts to innovation, there are a number of exciting technological developments that will change the future of property, as discussed below.

Blokable: “Bloks” are connectable, stackable modules that can be used for student, senior, veterans and mixed-use housing. According to their website, they can be completed faster and more affordably than traditional construction projects. They come with power, lighting and smart-home capabilities built in. The company is backed by some of the most notable investors in Silicon Valley. This is an innovation that is a far cry from the oversized homes and overpriced homes that the suburbs are made of. It’s like a tiny home that’s not so tiny that you would feel claustrophobic. The housing market could see major disruptions if this catches on.

“With rents skyrocketing, the number of people living with roommates has soared as well. No longer is it reserved for college students and young professionals.”

Loftium: Loftium will give you a down payment on your home with one catch. You must AirBnB an extra bedroom for 12-36 months and share the income with Loftium. This is a model that can provide major benefits to want-to-be homeowners who don’t have enough disposable income to save for a down payment. There’s so many natural beneficiaries of going through Loftium that we should all hope that this company sees growth as they are relatively new.

RentHoop: With rents skyrocketing, the number of people living with roommates has soared as well. No longer is it reserved for college students and young professionals – there’s major growth among middle-aged and even senior citizens. Millennials are wary of Craigslist and grew up cognizant of the “Craigslist Killer” and the many scams, so they’re looking for a more modern solution that provides safety and transparency. And so, I invented an app called RentHoop, that finds and matches roommates through a mobile application. It’s been a hit among college students for the social features that show mutual friends, interests and deal-breakers.

“It’s a minimalist’s dream… Not married to any city? Transfers are easily available within two weeks.”

Common: Popularly known as “co-living,” Common is one of the many companies looking to capitalize on the millennial workforce that works remotely and values networking. It features private bedrooms with shared spaces in friendly homes. Members enjoy a “convenient, flexible and affordable way to enjoy life in a vibrant urban community,” according to their website. It’s a minimalist’s dream. Each person has a standard private bedroom that is fully furnished with a high-end kitchen, weekly cleaning, free on-site laundry and free high speed Wi-Fi, of course. Not married to any city? Transfers are easily available within two weeks to their other Common spaces that include New York City, San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

These are four companies at the forefront of innovations that will impact the future of property and real estate for generations to come.

- Written by Paul Burke

1.http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=51448

2.https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/student-loan-debt-and-housing-report

3.http://furmancenter.org/nrh

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