The millennial generation, those born between 1980 and 2000, have different tastes and attitudes to their now middle-aged Generation X forebears. As they move into their thirties, they are playing an increasingly important role in the international property markets and many have significant buying power, either through inheritance or through their own entrepreneurial flare. So what is now out and what is the new in?
Previous generations favoured the standalone villa to which they could retreat for a few weeks a year or, inspired by A Year in Provence and Under a Tuscan Sun, they took on rural wrecks, determined to create the rustic, idyll they had read, and dreamed, about.
The High Net Worth millennial, however, is likely to be an urbanite at heart. They love the major world cities that give them modern living, access to culture, sport and a 24-hour lifestyle. London, Berlin, Barcelona, Madrid, Miami, LA and New York exemplify this, with amenities and facilities at their heart.
This need for a city buzz is not just for a second or weekend holiday home, millennials are increasingly looking for the same quality of life in their primary home and they are not afraid to move or combine a place to work with a place to live and play.
They prefer modern buildings with lateral living, parking, concierge and gyms and spas. They enjoy modern art and architecture and make great customers for the local bars, coffee shops and restaurants, eating out socially more often than their previous generations. They are not great commuters, preferring to live and work in the city centre and often will hire a car when required rather than own their own.
Miami is the perfect example. Once known as the retiree destination for the American snowbirds, the city has reinvented itself as a cosmopolitan and financial hub for the region that is as much a place to live and work as it is to holiday.
There is a burgeoning arts scene with new theatres and galleries and the central business district, Brickell City Centre, has been transformed thanks to a $1.05 billion redevelopment. This 4.9 million sq ft mixed-use development offers its residents and workers everything they might need all in one place, from high end fashion and dining to Saturday farmer’s markets and yoga. South Beach remains the reserve for the holidaymaker but Brickell is the preserve of the young professional who work hard, in order to consume hard.
Berlin typifies a newly revived city for a millennial generation. Home to tech start-ups, creative agencies and media, Berlin has benefited from having large prime sites in the centre of the city that are now being redeveloped and are of such size as to have a regenerating effect on whole areas.
Developers now look to integrate commercial space with retail, restaurants, gyms and residential not only within the same developments but within the same buildings. Perfect for our millennial who no longer lives in an apartment within a building, but lives in the whole building, enjoying the coffee shop on the ground floor, logging on in the shared work space and making sure that they work off the calories in the pool or gym in the basement.
When the millennials are on holiday, they look to match their primary homes for amenities but the beaches, clubs and ski slopes are chosen in preference to the rural farm house and a pile of books. I think they have great taste.