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Engel & Völkers Licence Partner Hong Kong, Real Estate Agency > Blog > I am A Millennial: How To Sell Real Estate To Me

I am A Millennial: How To Sell Real Estate To Me

 Hong Kong
- millennial buy property

Millennials (Generation Y) are the generation comprising of the children of baby boomers who are born between 1977 and 2000. Though, there seems to be a negative association attached to the term millenial - with vocabulary that consists of such words as - entitled, spoiled, soft, and lazy. We are deemed as the “Failure To Launch” Generation. Why is that? Another question we are faced with is, “Why are Millennials not buying homes in Hong Kong?”. 

Let's first look at some statistics first according to a global survey conducted by CBRE Hong Kong:

CRBE conducted a global survey consisting of 13,000 Millennials globally - aged between 22 and 29, including 1,000 Millennials from Hong Kong out of 5,000 from Asia-Pacifiic and these are the results -

    • Hong Kong millennials are with the highest percentages of living with parents and dining out in the globe.
  • 21% of Hong Kong millennials have no plan to leave the family home.
  • Hong Kong millenails can save 33% of their disposable income, compared to the 20% of the global average.
  • 84% of Hong Kong millennials live with their parents, the highest percentage in Asia.
  • 70% of Hong Kong millennials can only afford to buy or rent with financial support from their relative or friends - causing a huge housing affordability issue.
  • 75% of working Hong Kong millennials place major importance on the option to work flexibly ore remotely - meaning work flexibility matters hugely to them.
  • These Hong Kong millennials highly value rest areas within the workplace when considering a new job.
  • 92% of Hong Kong millennials buy more than they had planned when purchasing non-food items online - Millennials seem to give in to temptation easily.
  • Millennials eat out on average of 11.7 days per month, which is the highest in the globe. Hong Kong Millennials are inclined to dining out. 


Interesting statistics right? I am a Millennial, and many of you who are reading this article are probably Millennials as well or have Millennial members in the the immediate family. We have a set of defining values and characteristics that set us apart from other generations but there is one particularly striking one that has everybody talking about us. Millennials have a tendency (as we have seen from the statistics) to leave the family nest much later than previous generations and compared to other millennials in other countries. When we are do move out to set up our own home, it is usually accomplished through our parents' financial assistance of down payment and mortgage. If we simply look at this statistics, it's easy to come to the brief and surface-level conclusion that we are indeed the less than driven generation that we have been inaccurately labeled as. 

We are not the entitled, lazy, lackluster and spoiled group of individuals that the world claims us to be and we want you to understand the obstacles that are holding us back from buying a property of our own. Here are a few of the major obstacles that have set us back from behaving in ways our previous generations were able to:

  • We, the Millennial generation faced challenging times after 2008/s financial recession, which left us with much fewer available job opportunities.
  • Unemployment rate fell worldwide, resulting in a heavy financial crisis amongst our group.
  • Our generation are attending higher-level education like never before, expensive education may I add. Graduating students are now burdened by the crippling dept that the education sector has left us with, but a choice we don't really get to have because without higher-level education we are at risk of never finding quality jobs.
  • Since there are so many degree holders now, the value of a degree has become slightly diluted and under-valued. Combined with the effects of the financial crisis, this has made the job search even more competitive for Millennials.
  • An article published in the South China Morning Post supported this predicament, highlighting the fact that “fewer Hong Kong youngsters with degrees land middle-class jobs, while more work as clerks”. Figures stated that only 73.4% of university graduates managed to obtain a “middle-class” position, which the article defines as being a “manager, administrator, professional and associate professional”, compared to 82.5% in 2001.
  • This is the most important point - the sky-high property prices in Hong Kong represent huge barriers of entry for Hong Kong Millennials. We are not making enough money to afford to aburd property prices in Hong Kong.
  • According to a City University of Hong Kong Paper titled, “I Am NOT Leaving Home': Post-80s' Housing Attitudes and Aspirations in Hong Kong”, while mortgage payments in Hong Kong might be considered relatively cheap, buying a property requires a down payment which amounts to a proportion of the property's purchase price and is set at “30% for small/middle-sized housing and 40 to 50% for larger sized housing or villas”.


The fact of the matter is that we are still living with our parents because due to economic and financial factors, we are unable to live anywhere else even if our desire is to buy our own home. This is the major reason why there's been a downward spiralling trend in Millennials, such as myself, seeking property ownership in our own rights. We aren't keen on buying property with the above mentioned factors because it doesn't make any sense for us to do so. If you are a Millennial, you are probably also a first time potential home buyer, which means you've probably spent the last decade attempting to dig yourself out from under a mountain of school debt. We have a lot of pressure from older generations who look at us with disappointment. Why is that our parents and grandparents were able to reach “adulthood” much earlier than us? Our parents and grandparents were able to buy a home when they were much younger than we are now and there is always going to be that unfair comparison without taking in to consideration all the challenges and obstacles us Millennials are faced with. 

Now I'm not saying that we are forever incapable of purchasing our own home, because we are. We are a hardworking group, even if it doesn't seem so from your perspective. Furthermore, we are a creative group. We are innovative. Let me explain why. 

Our lives are built around efficiency and convenience, thanks to us being the most digitally-connected generation there ever was. Everything we want, we can have in an instant, at the touch of a button. Hungry? Deliveroo will have a meal to us in half an hour. Running out of clothes? Any e-commerce store will have it at the doorstep by the next day. Need transporation? Uber! Want to watch the latest TV Shows? Netflix. Heck, we don't even need a wallet these days. All we need are our smartphones. For some reason, this makes us the “lazy” generation. In reality, if you think about it, we are actually the generation faced with the most obstacles to succeed. So when we do succeed, we are the cream of the crop - the elites that made it despite the challenges. We have so many resources at our fingertips that we expect more, we want higher standards, we want better services, we want more quality…we don't strive to become the most successful because that doesn't exist. There's only MORE successful. We have no glass ceiling holding us down, and the world is our oyster. So if we have so much, and we can do so much, how can YOU as a home-seller, property-investor or real estate agent earn my trust and garner a relationship with me? I will tell you how.

Transparency and Personal Branding

Our previous generations maybe grew up with information, but us Millennials have been literally bombarded and oversaturated with information since day one. To really catch our interests, you have to have something really enticing to offer. We smell through the layers of BS because we have been conditioned to shuffle through the millions upon millions of content we are faced with day in and day out. What worked for our parents and grandparents no longer works for us. We want fast, and we want more. We crave interactive experiences and personal relationships. It may seem ironic to you. How can we create personal relationships when we have our noses deep in our smartphones all day long? We do, and we have because of the advance of technology. We are able to connect to more people globally than we ever have been before. For us Millennials, a brand no longer will suffice. We want you to create a personal brand that we can personally connect with. Seeing your listings on your website no longer captivates us. We want to know the inner personal details of your life as well. Invite us potential young buyers in to your life. Show us the hike trail you went on this morning with your dog near one of your listings. Give us an Instagram live of one of your listing properties and give us the chance to personally ask you questions in real time. Post a photo on Instagram and Facebook of the cool new coffeeshop that just popped up in the neighbourhood. Tell us a story of the couple you helped find the perfect home for. Give us a tour of your city and neighbourhoods that you are selling in. We want story-telling, and we want to create an emotional connection with you through this unique experiences. 

For Millennials, marketing and branding isn't just about selling anymore. It's about building tiny little networks of personal, one-on-one relationships with your audience. I want to be able to DM (direct-message) you on Instagram and get an answer immediately. I want to like your content, comment, and create a personal relationship with you that's outside of just static property listings. We want humour. We want personality! We want stories! 

In the end, we all want the same thing. We want to become homeowners and property investors. Our destination has not changed, we just want a more scenic route to our destination. Homeownership is terrifying. It's one of the biggest investments we will ever consider in our lives and trust me, none of us want to mess it up. We are looking for someone who can bond with us and help us cut through the complex process with transparency, efficiency, convenience and flexibility. Our generation thrives on speed, and making every second count. We don't just do one task at a time, we do multiple tasks at a time. We listen to podcasts on the way to work. We scour through real estate listings while we are waiting for our lunch. We are constantly staying up to date on the happenings around the world, and if you want to sell to us, you need to be able to keep up with us. 

Speaking about transparency, it's a crucial factor when dealing with Millennials. Millennials are incredibly well-educated. Most of us own a bachelor's degree, and even those who don't are well-versed on the Internet and can find out all sorts of information alone. We are a curious bunch. We ask more questions. We are more inquisitive. We focus on data and statistics. We make comparisons before consumer purchases. It's important that you are completely truthful and transparent with the information you present to us, because if it's not the truth, we will find out. 

If you want to connect with people like me, the young homebuyers - stay with me to hear the few tips I have for you. We aren't a completely different species from our parents and grandparents because at the end of the day, we all want the same thing. We want to find our dream home for a good affordable price, and we want to process to be pain-free and smooth. The only difference is that we run on a faster engine in a car that's a slightly different model so all it takes are a few adjustments from your side in order to connect with people like me. Here goes;

Get Digital and Tech-Saavy

Millennials rely on technology to for nearly everything now. We use technology to stay informed, communicate and to make purchases. We expect the same even when going through the process of home-purchasing and renting. We do pretty much everything from our smartphones and laptops now. We want everything digitized. If you are still going the traditional paper route, well you should really re-think that. It's a hassle for us and a pain.  Making everything digital will not only cut our time shorter, it will make our communication much more efficient and convenient. If you still require me to fax things, mail things, or hand-deliver paperwork to you, i'll probably start searching for a new real estate agent. It's nothing personal. If you want to connect with Millennials, you need to stay up to date with the latest mobile apps, virtual tours, and e-signature technologies - and be prepared to work fast and move fast. If we have to wait more than a day to hear back from you, we will take our business elsewhere. 

Today's young people are busy. We don't have the time or want to invest in the time to do something that can take half the amount of time to do. 

Please don't just send me a bunch of static property listings

If you are sending me listings with lengthy descriptions and only one or two photos of the property, we are going to have problems. We crave efficiency and we expect nothing less. We would much rather you give us live virtual tours or the properties or lots of detailed photos and videos of options than to drag us to multiple open houses and home visits over a few weeks to months. We want things done fast. Remember, for us, efficiency is key. Millennials don't like to wait. We aren't a group known for our patience or attention spans. If you can't capture our attention within the first 5-10 seconds, forget it. 

Be the expert in your niche

We have so much content and resources at our disposal that if you cannot offer something of value from an expert's point of view, it is pretty much redundant and useless to us. We come to you because we cannot figure out how to do it on our own, and trust me, we can figure out practically how to do everything on our own via the Internet. Find a way to be the go-to expert in your field and in your niche and this will give us a reason to keep coming back to you. Don't offer what the rest of the online world already offers us, give us something more that we cannot get unless we come to you. That is the key to connecting with us. We want your help, so please give us the help that we so crave and need. Be our guide through this process, and think about the things I'm going to need your help with - things that I cannot learn by googling. Be the value that I cannot find anywhere else and you will have yourself a loyal client. 

Get creative

So much can be done now that creativity is the key to standing out in an otherwise overly saturated market. If everyone is doing the same thing as you, it's time to get creative and innovate. The more innovative you are, the bigger your client base will grow, and the faster your business will expand. 

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Engel & Völkers
Licence Partner Hong Kong, Real Estate Agency
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