Steve Patterson

MIAMI—The Related Group is responding to the high demand for multifamily rentals in South Florida with six new projects under construction. That’s because Related hears and echo. Indeed, the Echo Boomers—children of the Baby Boom generation that were born between 1981 and 1995—are expected to drive occupancy in the next wave of multifamily development in the region.

“The multifamily industry is well aware of the Echo Boomer generation and their future role in the market,” Steve Patterson, president and CEO of Related Development, tells “However, it is a gradual phenomena, and I believe that’s why it hasn’t been addressed fully in the mainstream media. I think within the coming years you’ll hear more about this generation’s impact on the housing market.”

According to a Bipartisan Policy Center report entitled, “Demographic Challenges and Opportunities for the U.S. Housing Market,” Echo Boomers are numerous and relatively well educated. That presents a long-term opportunity for housing market recovery.

But long-term is the key word. The Echo Boomers have been hit hard by the recession as they’ve entered into independent adulthood, the report offers, and that’s reduced their income and employment—and limited their ability to form households and attain home ownership.

“Echo Boomers are going to be a growing part of the rental household absorption for the next decade because they are entering prime renter age,” Patterson says. “Echo Boomers will have a major impact on rental demand and, absent significant oversupply their presence will cause rents to grow over the next five years.”