On Yahoo! Finance Revealing The Best Cities For Gen Z Renters

Young Woman Drinking Coffee

I Shared My Thinking—and Latest Research—on the Most Important Rental Trends Leaders Need to Know About Gen Z.

  • Practicality with money is a key emerging trait of Gen Zers– the generation born after 1997.
  • Throughout the pandemic, Gen Zers were the most likely to lose their job or face a reduction in hours or pay.
  • Remote work unlocks tremendous new opportunities for Gen Zers and where they choose to work and live.

In some key parts of the US, the real estate and rental markets are hot! 

That is why I was excited to share my thinking—and latest research—about the most important Gen Z rental trends that leaders—as well as employers and parents—need to know.

This moment in time is important for understanding Gen Z as both renters and trendsetters because they comprise the entire cohort of emerging adult renters (ages 18 to 25) and are driving not only rental trends but mobility trends, community amenities, and so much more in the rental market! As a generations researcher and speaker, I find it is very important to pay attention to rental and mobility trends because those trends affect so many things: available employees, retail sales, transportation, community development, property and income taxes, and much more. These emerging trends are a must-know for employers, parents, marketers, and even Gen Z themselves to understand.

Every generation has key traits – practicality with money is one of Gen Z’s.

In my interview with Yahoo! Finance, I share that as Gen Z emerges into adulthood, they are exhibiting strong practicality with their money. They have an unexpectedly higher predisposition for savings, and they are trying to avoid credit card and student loan debt.

At the same time, job opportunities, particularly those with remote-work options for Gen Z, have enabled younger workers to live in smaller cities or more cost-effective geographies and still work for remote employers willing to pay more than their local community via remote work. In fact, they could be working at a high-paying job for a company based in an expensive, high-paying city but be living in a much more affordable town on the other side of the country. 

Besides the arbitrage of getting paid a higher salary and living in a lower cost locale due to remote work, some young renters have added roommates to cover the bills or moved to smaller, less expensive apartments to get through the financial turmoil from the pandemic. In addition, being able to work from home opens up opportunities to live in locations that may also better reflect Gen Z’s priorities, from environmental activism or being closer to their family. 

Remote work unlocks new opportunities for Gen Zers and where they choose to live.

The pandemic opened up the remote-work reality for many businesses around the world—as well as for emerging Gen Z employees. While remote work started for many employees and employers as a pandemic-driven necessity, remote and hybrid workspaces are now trending as we look to the future of work and the workplace.  

The work style and workplace approach leaders and businesses adopt, in response to changing mobility and remote-work patterns, will likely affect what rental communities offer to appeal to Gen Z—from apartments designed with work-from-home offices to flexible work and collaboration spaces in common areas or the ability to “hot desk” at a shared space at or near a rental community.

Throughout the pandemic, Gen Zers were the most likely to lose their job or face a decrease in hours or pay.

Job losses, pay decreases, and stagnation in career growth have impacted Gen Z’s ability to potentially buy homes and what they can afford to pay in rent. Even as Gen Z emerges from the pandemic as sought-after employees, particularly in certain areas of expertise such as technology, it will still take time for the generation to fully recover financially. This period of job and economic flux has caused many in Gen Z to look at other places where they would like to live that are more affordable—which is why many of the top trending cities for Gen Z renters are small, affordable cities across the Midwest and the South. These locations typically offer a lower price point per square foot, access to outdoor recreation, and more community engagement—all desirable attributes for the emerging generation.

 Looking ahead, I expect that many in Gen Z who moved to these more affordable and lifestyle-friendly geographies will put down roots and potentially even become homebuyers—especially if companies continue to allow remote work as a valued option and career reality.

How Will Your Community Grow?

As my research continues, what I am finding very interesting is the impact of hybrid and remote-work on the housing location and style options desired by Gen Z—and all generations. These trends are important for leaders to know because they affect entire real estate communities, the future location of companies and new communities, and how businesses recruit and hire going forward—such as companies able to recruit nationally for hard-to-fill in-person jobs that can now be performed remotely. 

 If you’d like to learn more about Gen Z and what we’re discovering about this exciting generation of employees and customers, check out CGK’s annual State of Gen Z study series. It’s free and available for download directly from our website

 Contact my friendly team here for information on our speaking, custom research, and generational strategies to help your team and organization unlock the potential of every generation. You can also check out my new book, Zconomy, which provides a deep dive into Generation Z and everything you need to know as an employer, marketer, or parent. Zconomy was a #1 New Release on Amazon! You can learn more about Zconomy by visiting Zconomy.com


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