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Urbanomics: Millennial Migration To The Urban-Burbs

Laura Criscione 
Generation Y, mostly known as the millennial generation, continually illustrates how different they are from their parents’ generation. Unlike the typical “American Dream” of moving to the suburbs to start their lives and have a family, many millennials are moving out, starting families and buying homes later in their lives. Those who are moving out and living on their own, however, are not buying houses but rather renting. According to Redfin, “even as the share of first-time home buyers in today’s market continues to increase, millennials are moving into homeownership at a far slower rate than their parents did at their age.”[1]

There are numerous reasons why they are buying homes later in their lives. For starters, millennials are starting families when they’re closer to 30 years old, instead of 20, so they don’t feel the need to settle down and purchase a home. They still want the option to move around to different cities and having a house could greatly inhibit that. [2] Another reason is the large amount of student loan debt that millennials accumulate throughout their college years. The total cost of buying a home with additional costs does not sound encouraging to new homeowners. With the employment rate at an unwavering rate of 5.5% [sic], many millennials don’t think they can afford all the costs associated with buying a home.[3] This is the main reason as to why many of them are choosing to rent.

So where exactly are millennials going? They’re flocking to the cities, but they aren’t going to the large cities like New York, Boston and San Francisco due to the incredibly high cost. Most are making their temporary homes in smaller cities. “..Millennials are moving to new places made just for them, by them—revitalizing smaller cities or opting for hybridized urban-burb enclaves where quality of life is the driving force.”[4] A study, conducted by the Urban Land Institute, showed how most millennials were living in outer neighborhoods, not downtown cities. “Gen Yers want to live where it’s easy to have fun with friends and family, whether in the suburbs or closer in,” says M. Leanne Lachman, one author of the study. This is a generation that places a high value on work-life balance and flexibility. They will switch housing and jobs as frequently as necessary to improve their quality of life.”[5] Most millennials prefer to live in mixed-use communities in smaller cities or city-like communities, known as “urban-burbs”. These communities are attracting millennials since they are looking to be surrounded by more socially conscious and creative environments. [6] Urban-burbs are located in areas near shops, restaurants, cafes and offices. They are also “simultaneously pedestrian-and transit-friendly, environmentally conscious, and incorporate mixed housing types (single-family, townhomes and apartments) and public parks for community gathering.”[7]

As it can be seen, millennials are looking for communities that are eco-friendly, easily accessible to shops, restaurants and work, but most importantly, affordable. They want a community that is on the move, like the big cities are, but without the big cost of rent. These millennials are leaving their parents’ home for the first time and are looking for a temporary spot to fit their needs as they embark on this new stage in their lives.

By: Laura Criscione
Commerce Magazine
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SOURCES: [1] Braverman, Beth. "4 Reasons Millennials Still Aren't Buying Houses." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 24 Sept. 2015. Web. 28 Feb. 2016.
[2] Mucklai, Shazir. "Millennials Don't Want to Buy Houses -- Would You Buy or Rent?" The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 28 Oct. 2015. Web. 28 Feb. 2016.
[3] Mucklai, Shazir. "Millennials Don't Want to Buy Houses -- Would You Buy or Rent?"
[4] Walker, Alissa. "Millennials Will Live In Cities Unlike Anything We've Ever Seen Before." Gizmodo. 16 July 2015. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
[5] Walker, Alissa. "Millennials Will Live In Cities Unlike Anything We've Ever Seen Before."
[6] "Newswire ." Millennials Prefer Cities to Suburbs, Subways to Driveways. 4 Mar. 2014. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
 [7] "Newswire ." Millennials Prefer Cities to Suburbs, Subways to Driveways.

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