Millennial housing?

When discussing transit alternatives, light rail discussions often get co-mingled with Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) and the supposed millennial housing preference for high-density, urban living and TOD. However, recent studies suggest other evolving trends as millennials age.

“Here’s one thing we know: People get older. Another is that people’s tolerance for entry-level jobs and small urban apartments is highest when they are young adults. So while many things affect the increasing popularity of city living, including lower crime rates and a preference for walkable neighborhoods, one of the biggest factors is simply the number of people who are around 25.” SOURCEPeak Millennial? Cities Can’t Assume a Continued Boost From the Young

The study, coauthored by Deborah L. Brett of Deborah L. Brett and Associates, punctured the myth of millennials living mostly in amenity-rich apartments in the downtowns of large cities. Rather, the study found, many are living in less centrally located but more affordable neighborhoods, and sharing space with parents or roommates to save money. The study’s key findings included the following:

  • Only 13 percent of millennials live in or near downtowns; 63 percent live in other city neighborhoods or in the suburbs.
  • Fifty percent are renters, paying a median monthly rent of $925.
  • Twenty-one percent live at home, but 90 percent expect to move out within five years.
  • Fourteen percent live in households with three generations of family members.

“I’m an example of a millennial who has lived for a decade in small loft in the city because I love the neighborhood and lifestyle. But now I’m getting married, and have been looking for houses for three months. It seems you developers did not expect us to grow up and need more than 1,100 square feet [100 sq m] of living space.” — Rukiya Eaddy of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. SOURCE: The Evolving Preferences of Millennials

“the rate at which Americans are moving to the suburbs is once again outpacing the rate at which they are moving to cities. That picks up on a decades long trend that only very temporarily reversed during the recession.” SOURCE: Wall Street Journal – More Americans Are Again Moving to Suburbs Than Cities

What are others saying about millennial’s evolving housing preferences?

Maybe millennials aren’t so different after all. The share of millennials buying a home in an urban area declined to 17% in 2015 from 21% a year before. And fewer — 10%, compared with 15% a year earlier — purchased a multifamily home. SOURCE: Millennials are buying homes, and they’re buying them in the suburbs

It was only a matter of time. Literally. As millennials grow older, get married, have children, they are seeking out bigger houses and better schools. That means the suburbs. They are also getting tired of paying higher urban rents and watching those rents rise.  SOURCE: The Young And The Restless: Millennials Ditch Cities For Suburbs

As millennials get older, many will follow a familiar path: They’ll partner up, have kids, and move to the suburbs. Urban living starts to decline after ages 25-29 and drops to its lowest level at ages 65-69. SOURCE: Urban Headwinds, Suburban Tailwinds

Urban residents feel the tug of the suburbs. For every 10 suburbanites who said they wanted to live in an urban area in five years, 16 urban dwellers said they wished to live in the suburbs. Even among young adults aged 18-34— who are more likely to live in urban areas than older adults are — more wanted to move from city to suburbs than the other way around. SOURCE: Urban Headwinds, Suburban Tailwinds


“So while some 22-year-old millennials might have made a declaration that they would rather die than live in a suburb, their 35-year-old selves might feel differently, especially when they realize that suburban housing is often cheaper and suburban public schools are often better.” SOURCEPeak Millennial? Cities Can’t Assume a Continued Boost From the Young