Study: Millennials are moving to suburbs

The buzz Wednesday was on a National Association of Realtors study that said Millennials account for just 17 percent of the urban home-buying market. Meanwhile, those Millennials – which compose 35 percent of all homebuyers – are heading to the suburbs.

The study found that the average income of these Millennial homebuyers was $77,400, and that they were buying homes that averaged 1,720 square feet in size, costing an average of $187,400.

Small homes. Starter homes. Young family homes.

Location-wise, 51 percent of Millennials surveyed were buying in the suburbs – a little less than Gen-Xers and about the same as Baby Boomers. Millennials are still inhabiting cities more than other homebuyers – 17 percent compared to 13 percent of Gen-Xers and Late Boomers. And 19 percent of Millennials were buying in small towns (compared to 29 percent of Silent Generation members).

Another interesting note: 50 percent of Millennials are influenced by the cost of the home when buying, whereas other generations are only concerned about cost 35 percent of the time. Millennials also care a bit more for proximity to recreational facilities (20 percent) than other generations.

All the data seems to prove that Millennials are still opting for affordability, and in doing so, are often choosing to live slightly outside of urban areas. In five to 10 years the reasons for living in suburban areas should shift – good schools, proximity to children’s activities, good neighborhood, more space – and the rate of suburban-living Millennials should begin to peak.

One thing I’d like to have known from the study is where these suburban areas are located. I recently wrote about the Millennial shift to smaller urban areas; I’d be curious to know how many Millennials are now living in suburbs of cities with an under-250,000 population, as opposed to suburbs of large and second-tier cities.

Nonetheless, this isn’t surprising news. Millennials aren’t just city dwellers, just as American isn’t just the east and west coasts. Many Millennials are now starting families and need more space, but they want affordable. Simple as that. The trend should continue.