Thanks to the New York Times, I just discovered a new marketing label. I am a “renter by choice” — someone who can afford to buy a house but who chooses not to.
New Marketing Demographic: Renter by Choice
After selling my high-maintenance 1930 house in New Jersey, I’m happily renting a low-maintenance place in North Carolina. I could buy again, but I just don’t see the appeal right now. I’ve run the numbers — even buying a smallish townhouse in Raleigh would double my monthly housing expense, with minimal tax benefits compared to the IRS’ standard deduction.
Higher monthly payments? Uncertain financial payoff? Yardwork? No thanks!
And it sounds like I’m not the only one.
Marketing Potential: What Can You Sell Them?
The New York Times article notes that 66% of households are still homeowners. Combining the article’s numbers with some older figures from the Census Bureau and the National Multifamily Housing Council, it appears there are at least 15 million renter-by-choice households.
That’s a lot of potential customers.
So as marketers, how can we capitalize on this trend? Well, if they can afford to own a house but don’t, they probably have more free time and more disposable income. Sounds like a good target market for travel and entertainment, and other “experience”-oriented purchases.
They obviously aren’t investing in home improvements, which leaves time for hobbies — especially ones outside the home — and money for discretionary goods, like consumer electronics.
Marketing agencies might approach apartment complexes and property management companies about a new tactic — tailoring their consumer marketing message to highlight the advantages and benefits of non-homeownership.
That’s all supposition, but I’m sure you can think of other marketing possibilities, too.
What Do You Think?
When I’m occasionally tempted by the beautiful old houses in Boylan Heights or Five Points, I remember how expensive it is to maintain an old house. Or how a friend’s parent’s brand new $700K custom-built house still requires hours of weekly upkeep.
And I remember again on a couple Saturday mornings each month — when I wake up to the sound of my landlord mowing the lawn. And then go back to sleep.
What marketing opportunities do you see in the renters-by-choice trend?