THURSDAY 24 JAN 2019 3:40 PM


There are countless memes about Millennials and home ownership. Debt-stricken young people poke fun at themselves and their avocado toast predilections while subtly bemoaning the housing industry’s outdated model and difficult-to-access opportunities. Across the country, home ownership among Millennials has dropped from near 50% to near 20% since 1984, according to the Guardian.

Now, a study released this month now confirms that housing companies have to shoulder part of the blame for this dilemma. Advertising agency d.fferent wanted to understand how house builders are communicating with their audiences. It’s a bleak outlook.

Nearly half of empty nesters and pensions say they haven’t seen any communications at all from housebuilders. That’s somewhat astonishing considering these two audiences are statistically more likely to be owning, buying and selling homes than other generations. Additionally 92% of retirees and 81% of empty nesters report that they feel misunderstood by housing brands.

However, it’s not just the Baby Boomers that are being maligned. From students to new parents to retirees, every audience studied revealed missed opportunities for communications and misunderstanding of the customer base on the part of the housebuilder. The only group who stated an overwhelming number of communications – as opposed to the vast majority who cited little to no communications – were home movers. And they didn’t like what they actually did see. Marketing communications to this group led to 14% feeling contempt and 10% feeling sadness regarding the messaging.

Ben Quigley, group chief executive at d.fferent says, “Housebuilders are missing a trick. Our research found real inconsistencies with communications across life stages; the overarching theme is that there is room for improvement. However, a singular step-change in tactics isn’t going to cut it. There is huge untapped potential with both pensioners and empty nesters for all strands of marketing activity. When it comes to the other life stages social media and online should be the focuses, particularly for students. Failing to build relationships with the home-owners of the future – particularly as the end of the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme is due to come to an end in 2023 – is a huge missed opportunity.”

The outlook isn’t great online and on social either, with only 14% of respondents saying they see social communications from housebuilders.