The purchasing power of Asian-Americans in the U.S. is predicted to reach $1 trillion within the next four years. This market segment is increasingly important to the industry as a whole and crucial to many brokerages, as this growing population strives to achieve the American Dream.
Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate is a proud supporter of Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) and was honored to host the first-ever Asian American consumer panel at the 2014 National Conference to help real estate professionals understand this consumer’s unique perspectives of the home buying process – considering everything from lifestyle needs and housing design preferences to cultural nuances.
Asian American ascent
In 2011, Asian Americans made up approximately 5.8 percent of the U.S. population. That’s 18.2 million people of primarily Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese descent. According to Pew Institute, this demographic is the fastest growing racial group, making up the largest share of recent immigrants.1
With a median annual income of $72,7972, Asian Americans are the highest-income, best-educated racial group in the U.S.1 Further, Nielsen reports that the buying power will continue to grow, and is projected to reach $1 trillion by 2017.3 They are also the youngest buyer of the four groups with a median buying age of 36 years old.
All about the dream
The American Dream is still alive in Asian American households. Panelists agreed that homeownership is seen as a sign of success and financial stability. The belief remains that not owning a home means you are denying your full potential.
Asian American buyers are also expecting to pay more for their future home than other groups – in fact, over $75K more2!
Consensus-building and respecting the opinions of elders are intrinsic values in Asian cultures. Because of this, parents of potential Asian American homebuyers can be very involved throughout the home buying process, even though they will not live in the home. They are likely to weigh in on the decisions, from location and type of house, to size and feng shui configurations.
Real estate professionals selling homes to this segment should be prepared for these multiple stakeholders. Agents needs to ask questions to learn more about the various opinions and viewpoints that are driving the buying decision.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey revealed that roughly 90 percent of Asian Americans speak a language other than English at home. Because some Asian Americans involve extended family members throughout the home buying process, language can become a key consideration for real estate agents; it may be prudent to offer in-language marketing materials to further align yourself with the consumer.
Agent selection process
These panelists began their searches online, using popular sites like Trulia, Zillow and Realtor.com. In many cases, they contacted listing agents from this search, but didn’t always get replies. In other instances, they drove by homes and contacted the listing agent.
But no matter how they contacted their agent, the agent with the best response time and customer service won. The Asian American homebuyer needs what every homebuyer and seller needs: someone to respond to their calls and provide them with the right amount of guidance in the buying process and accomplishment of the American Dream. Agents who were accessible, dependable and knowledgeable made a lasting impact.
Also, in this day and age, it is common for buyers – Asian American or not – to use social media to learn more about real estate professionals. All potential homebuyers want to get a clear picture of who the agent is and how they interact with clients. Online presence remains critical to agent selection.
Making a personal connection is extremely important to this audience segment. While online and texting are sometimes a preferred method of communication, phone calls and face-to-face interactions can help build a personal connection with this particular group of potential buyers. When asked if they’d work with their agents again, every panelist focused on their agents’ communication skills, including follow-ups. Agents who kept in touch were more likely to keep their clients.
While it is true that Asian American buyers want many of the same things as other homebuyers, there are a number of areas where agents can differentiate themselves: understanding the importance of the family role for these clients providing in language materials when appropriate, and taking the time to understand cultural nuances that impact their lifestyle. If you demonstrate these well, your customer will achieve their American Dream and you will have a customer for life!
- Rise of Asian Americans, Pew Research Center Social & Demographics Trends
- What Home Buyers Really Want: Ethnic Preferences (Part I), National Association of Home Builders Discusses Economics and Housing Policy
- The Asian American Consumer 2013 Report, Nielsen, Asian American Journalists Association
- Working With Asian Home Buyers, REALTOR® Magazine