New survey to discover what Gen Z want from living environments

UPP and The Property Marketing Strategists team up to discover what Gen Z want from their living environments.

Gen Z in a living environment. UPP and The Property Marketing Strategists will conduct a survey to discover what they really want from their accommodation | LOFT UK | PBSA News

UPP, the national on-campus student accommodation operator and marketing specialists, The Property Marketing Strategists have teamed up to understand what Gen Z really want from their living environment – through conducting the  ‘Living & Learning: The Future of Home According to Gen Z’ survey.

With student accommodation often being a young person’s first taste of living independently – this team will survey a diverse range of young people to give a picture of the future of home.

The survey will ask current students in a range of accommodation, recent graduates and 16 to 17 year olds about their living environment and experiences, what they consider to be important in their first home, and what they may look for.

This wide, independent dataset will ensure that the student accommodation sector knows what Gen Z want from their home as well as expectations vs reality.

“Hearing the student voice is an imperative. With increasing pressures from the financial burden, the impact of the pandemic and a rapidly changing taught environment, it is absolutely essential that we as an industry understand how we can best meet existing and future student expectations and therefore support them in a way that works for them at all stages of their university experience.”

Kate Owen, Chief Marketing Officer, UPP

Looking at a broad range of topics, the ‘Living & Learning: The Future of Home According to Gen Z’ survey will explore key themes, including:

  • Price Sensitivity & Affordability – what young people are willing to pay for, how much and what they are not willing to pay for.
  • The Climate Crisis – with sustainability a vital part of Gen Z’s outlook, how should the home match their ideal, how is this connected to affordability and are they willing to pay for it?
  • Wellbeing – home is where the heart is but what do students need from a home and how best can it support their wellbeing?
  • Community – what do Gen Z expect from their local community beyond their educational setting and how does this impact graduate mobility?
  • Technology – what part will technology play in the future home and how will Gen Z prioritise these features?

Alongside UPP, this new research is supported by a number of partners including interiors specialist LOFT UK, who are sponsoring the sustainability pillar of the research. With the rise in 18-year-olds which is expected to reach 893,000 in 2030, a 25% increase, now is the time to truly understand what this age group want. This is increasingly important due to this rise alongside the fact that this generation has grown up with technology, social media, the climate crisis and the impact of a global pandemic.

“For property professionals operating in today’s crowded marketplace, allowing sustainability to guide your actions must be about more than just ticking a box. We know it and residents know it. But this is particularly true when it comes to thinking about student residents. More so than many other groups, they have their ear firmly to the ground. And they have only experienced a world in which acting with sustainability in mind is a must. They rightly demand more, and when we work in partnership to create spaces for them to call home, we strive to deliver more.”

Benjamin Hall, Founder & Managing Director, LOFT UK

With the expansion of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) over the last 20 years, the student home has evolved. However, the question this survey sets out to ask is has it really evolved enough for the next generation of students?

Between them, Sarah and Deenie from The Property Marketing Strategists have over 25 years of experience working within student accommodation environments, but their frustration at the sectors’ lack of evolution is what spurred their passion to create a business based on innovation and research.

“This project started out as the Unanswered Questions because for so long research in student living has been focused on current customers and not those about to live in these environments with the focus on service and not product.

“We are concerned that the ongoing push for bigger, better and more expensive facilities is not only impacting affordability for those choosing to live away at university, but also not focusing on the key concerns for Gen Z – sustainability and wellbeing.

“When we met with UPP we were delighted that they understood our concerns and together we hope this research provides real value not only to the university experience and accommodation developers of PBSA and Build to Rent, but also to the wellbeing of the next generation.

“This research is about driving the sector forward to bigger and better things and we are delighted that many of those in the sector are coming together to support this important project. We can’t wait to get started and share the results.”

Sarah Canning and Deenie Lee from The Property Marketing Strategists