Millennials are buying homes in smaller metro areas

The most popular area in America for Millennial homebuying is …

Utah County, Utah!

A CoreLogic survey found that Millennials, who are now starting to buy homes at a rate that can allow for substantial data study, are buying in two key areas: the middle of the country, and in counties near metro areas. (Thus Utah County, which is near Salt Lake City).

But Why? Money, money, money.

Also think about disruption and the new American economy. Technology has allowed second- and third-tier cities (like Salt Lake City) to become hotbeds for Millennial-focused jobs. The jobs bring in Millennials, who see low housing costs and the potential to get on the ground floor of a market on a downswing.

That said, Utah County is a small outlier, as it’s a huge Mormon-first county (88 percent identify as Mormon). People who grow up there and identify as Mormon may simply stay put.

Elsewhere, top Millennial homebuying markets include Denver County, Colo. (Denver); Kent County, Mich. (Grand Rapids); Weber County, Utah (Ogden — also Mormon-heavy); Polk County, Iowa (Des Moines); and Weld County, Colo. (Greeley, outside Fort Collins and Boulder).

The least popular counties include Marin County, Calif. (tech central); Westchester County, N.Y. (rich NYC suburbs); Honolulu County, Hawaii (always expensive); and Barnstable County, Mass. (Cape Cod).

Point is: Millennials want affordable places to live that allow them to be invested in work while having a relatively strong quality of life. That means the middle of America is very appealing, especially if areas are close enough to third-tier metro areas (or hell, fourth- or fifth-tier). Des Moines is a prime example: 200,000 or so people as of the 2010 Census; an attractive metro area for Millennials that offers tech opportunities, easy commuting, a good quality of life and substantial vibrancy.

Places like Des Moines are the places that will continue to thrive and expand over the next five-10 years. Beyond that, the rush back to suburbs will be at a near peak.