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  • Writer's pictureSarah Ruivivar

Gen Z's Trust Shift: Property Portals to Personal Recommendations

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

Could the reign of property portals be nearing its end?

A recent study suggests that Generation Z's trust in these platforms is waning, signalling a potential shift in the property market.

Online property portals, such as Zoopla, Rightmove, and OnTheMarket, have dominated the property search scene for years. Their popularity has driven estate agents to invest heavily in an online presence that extends beyond their own websites. However, this dominance might be on the brink of disruption.

A study conducted by communications agency Oracle, in collaboration with YouGov, reveals a surprising trend among 18-24 year-olds. Only 28% of this group trust property portals as their main source of information when looking for a home to rent or buy. This contrasts sharply with 45% of 25-34 year-olds and 43% of 35-44 year-olds.

The drop-off in trust among the younger group reflects a broader trend among Generation Z, who tend to be sceptical of traditional advertising and product campaigns. Instead, they favour influencers, social proof, and personal recommendations. This is evident in the fact that 16% of 18-24 year-olds surveyed trust other people's reviews and recommendations via platforms like Trustpilot.

Furthermore, 23% of Generation Z potential home-movers would most trust a personal interaction with an estate agent or letting agent. This shift in trust could potentially disrupt the property market as Generation Z matures into home-movers with distinct buyer behaviour patterns.

Just as the rise of tech-savvy Millennials facilitated the swift growth of property portals in the post-recession property market, this new data suggests that a change may be on the horizon.

Caroline Coskry, chair of The Oracle Group, emphasises that the dominance of property portals could soon be disrupted. She notes that the industry needs to adapt to reach the next generation of buyers and renters, potentially through influencer-driven campaigns and strategies based on authenticity and social proof.

As Gen Z's trust shifts from property portals to personal recommendations, the property market must evolve to meet their needs. This could mean embracing new marketing tactics and platforms that resonate with this younger generation. The future of property marketing may well lie in the hands of influencers and social proof, rather than traditional property portals."

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