April 12, 2016
It has long been suggested that the suburbs were a Generation X/Baby Boomers market, with Millennials opting for city dwelling. According to a 2013 National Association of Realtors study about generational housing trends, Millennials are now the second-biggest segment of home buyers, behind Generation X. Recent surveys further indicate that Millennials are not only buying in the suburbs, but they are also noticeably changing the overall feel and functionality of suburbia as we know it.
Like previous generations, Millennials have begun an exodus out of city centers, skipping starter properties in the city, and, as noted by Tommy Choi with Weinberg Choi Realty, increasingly opting for larger homes in the suburbs. NAR’s managing director of survey research, Jessica Lautz says, “Their buying power is huge. They are a force in the market. They are overtaking the baby boomers.” Lautz also notes that interest in older, traditional homes – single-family, detached with three bedrooms and two baths – is also on the rise. Often, instead of purchasing a newer, potentially more expensive property, Millennials are paying less, and subsequently remodeling to fit their particular need and style.
As Millennials flock the suburbs, they are not leaving behind the elements that made urban dwelling desirable in the first place. Instead, according to Alison Bernstein, founder of Suburban Jungle Realty, told MarketPlace, they are showing increased interest in the “anti-suburb suburb.”
Young buyers present a different list of must-haves than previous generations, and builders and cities are actively rushing to accommodate this growing sector. Access to retail hubs, quality schools within close distances, convenient access to public transportation, and improved walkability are all at the top of the “must haves” for Millennials.
Millennials are buying smarter with less, and industry leaders are taking notice. Real estate professionals recently discussed with ABC News some “must have” features that tend to be in high demand amongst young buyers. In addition to the convenience factor of the city, some other selling points include an updated kitchen with an open floor plan, updated baths, home office, great location, and technology.
Millennials are looking for the locations, functionalities, technologies and conveniences that reflect their rapidly changing lives. Because most Millennials depend on these things for both work and play, they are less and less inclined to settle, and the suburbs will likely continue to change to meet these requisites.