Millennials Leaving Their Mark on Suburbia

How will millennial homebuyers change suburbia, or will they? Realtors observe that millennials relocating from the city look for parts of their urban lifestyle, e.g., walkable neighborhoods, yet they also have traditional suburban tastes.

2 minute read

March 1, 2016, 7:00 AM PST

By Irvin Dawid


Rich Suburban House

Andrew Guyton / Flickr

What we know for sure is that they are moving to suburbia: "Folks in their 20s and early 30s make up the largest segment of home buyers in the nation, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR)," writes freelance reporter Nova Safo for American Public Media's Marketplace from Chicago, and heard on the podcast below. And that's for the third consecutive year.

An NAR survey finds that millennials make up a third of home buyers (baby boomers do, too, but they are a few percentage points behind). But, millennials also make up two thirds of first-time home buyers, according to the NAR.

"[Millennials] are growing up," said said Jessica Lautz, NAR's managing director of survey research. 

And they are following in much of the same patterns of previous generations. "They are becoming homebuyers. They are saving. They are getting married. They are having kids. Much like all of us have done in past generations."

What distinguishes millennial homebuyers from other generations in the market is that they "don't want to move to just any suburban neighborhood," observes Safo. Walkable neighborhoods and public transit are major attractions for many in this generation.

"People really kind of want the anti-suburb suburb," said Bernstein. "[H]er clients often want to preserve at least some elements of their urban lifestyle in their new suburban neighborhoods."

These desires have triggered changes in some suburbs, especially those closest to urban centersThey are experimenting with repurposing malls and parking lots into green space, creating retail hubs, and investing in public transportation, among other efforts.

"After all, if millennials can reinvent city living, why not suburbs too?" concludes Safo.

Articles on how urban realty companies help millennials find homes in the suburbs can be found below in "related links."

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