Generation Z – those born between 1997 and 2012 – have started to enter the property market, and technological and climate concerns have a significant impact on their purchases.

Richard Gray, CEO of Harcourts South Africa, said that Gen Z is bringing in a major shift to the real estate landscape in South Africa.

According to a survey from RE/MAX, Gen Z homebuyers lean heavily toward digital technologies, with 78% of respondents wanting smart technology in their homes.

As Gen Z grew up in the digital age, they expressed major interest in smart home features, such as home automation systems, internet-connected devices, and energy-saving appliances.

However, they are cautious buyers, with 77% of respondents in the RE/MAX survey preferring new builds.

“Gen Z’s experience during the 2008 financial crisis has made them cautious about large investments. They value financial stability and it’s reflected in their preference for new builds, which offer modern design, fewer maintenance issues, and potential for personalisation,” Gray said.

In addition, the generation’s commitment to environmental sustainability has made them prefer homes made with eco-friendly materials.

81% of respondents in the survey had a strong inclination towards homes made of sustainable materials, emphasising the climate concerns that younger homebuyers have.

“Gen Z’s homebuying preferences reflect their strong commitment to environmental sustainability and digital connectivity,” added Gray.

“Their significant influence on the real estate market will make smart and sustainable home features a standard expectation in South Africa’s housing landscape.”

Gray noted that as this new generation makes its presence felt in the market, the real estate industry must adapt to their demands.

“The rise in demand for smart features, new constructions, and sustainable materials not only mirrors this generation’s tech-savvy and environmentally conscious ethos but also indicates a transformative direction for the real estate industry, Gray said.

Below are examples of properties that would interest Gen-Z buyers currently up for sale:

  • 3 bedroom smart home in Hyde Park, Johannesburg
  • Price: R8,260,000

  • 2 Bedroom apartment in the newly-built Munyaka estate in Waterfall, Johannesburg
  • Price: R2,119,900

  • 1 bedroom apartment in the Fynbos development, which will use recycled materials
  • Price from: R1,920,000