Coronavirus and Gen Z's Future Housing Preferences

Coronavirus has made the once lively hustle and bustle of city life a complete nightmare, and has prompted residents from cities like Los Angeles, Newark, and New York City to escape from the congested hell for the safety and isolation of rural areas and quiet suburbs. In the middle of all this madness sits Generation Z, which has yet to develop specific housing preferences, but may be persuaded to stay away from cities in the future as a result of the pandemic.

A study by Oz Moving called, "What Does Generation Z Think When They Move?" provides valuable insights into the housing preferences of Gen Z-ers:

"It’s long been theorized that young people flock to urban areas as soon as they have the means and independence to do so - but that may not be the case for Generation Z. 32.9% of Generation Z respondents to our survey picked the suburbs as the kind of neighborhood they’d like to move to, and 18.9% picked rural areas. Close to the top, 32.7% picked “Urban light” areas among our survey options, described in the survey as “not downtown, but still heavily populated”, like Brooklyn or the San Fernando Valley. Only 13.1% of respondents selected “urban dense” areas. Maybe Generation Z is searching for a more tranquil and quiet life than the young people before them. "

Evidently, Gen Z already prefers to live in quieter areas––and Coronavirus might help popularize this sentiment. In fact, some Gen Z peers of mine have begun to warm up to this new normal as an input for future housing decisions:

“After seeing how bad the problem got in NYC I just could never imagine living in a big city. I used to fantasize about what it would be like to live in one of those coastal states, but now, it’s the least appealing thing to me.”

“I guess I never really had an opinion on living in cities versus urban and rural areas until this pandemic hit. It’s definitely making me more conscious about the future and how we will probably have more viruses or something worse, who knows. And I want to stay away from the city as much as I can because of that. Especially if I’m going to have a family.”

Based upon research and personal insights, I would fair along the lines of Gen Z migrating away from cities, and even more so in light of this pandemic. One thing's for sure: city life will never be the same. The game has changed, and people have been influenced.

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