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The Hottest Cities for Millennial Homebuyers

What do millennials want, anyway? Marketing professionals are paying millions to find the answer that question. What do they buy? Where do they work? Where do they live?

By now, it’s pretty standard knowledge that millennials have a penchant for not staying in the same place too long. And once again, millennials are on the move, but not to where you think.

For years, millennials have been flocking to downtown city centers, choosing to rent instead of buy. They’re drawn in by easy walkability to the places they love, multiple transportation options aside from their cars, and by just being in the middle of it all, whether that means restaurants and nightlife or culture and innovation. The theory: Millennials move for a good time – not for a long time.

However, it turns out millennials may not have been purposely shunning the suburbs, they simply could not afford them. In 2015, the largest sub-group of millennials (those born in 1990) turned 25, and the rate of millennial home ownership began to increase steadily, due to four factors:

  • The end of the recession.
  • Career advancement to higher pay grades.
  • General increases in pay rates.
  • They’re reaching an age where they think more seriously about settling down and starting a family.

Put simply, as millennials get older, base salaries get higher, and job opportunities become more prevalent, homeownership becomes more of a reality – and an attractive one at that. And more and more millennials are taking advantage.

Millennial homebuyers hot spots

New data from realtor.com reveals the top 10 cities where these “older” millennials are buying homes. Among a variety of factors, strong local economies and relative affordability are the main drivers behind their decisions.

Additionally, the states that top the list have, on average, a larger millennial percentage of their population than other states, which translates into more millennial homebuyers.

1. Salt Lake City, Utah

Population share of older millennials: 15.8%
Median home price: $360,000
Economic growth and relative affordability make the Salt Lake market really attractive to first-time homebuyers. Salt Lake City has the lowest unemployment of the markets on the list. Many available jobs come from a thriving tech scene that lures young people to companies such as Adobe and Electronic Arts. Additionally, millennials are drawn to Salt Lake City’s unique vibe: the excitement of an urban city with the laid-back sensibility of a mountain town.

2. Miami, Florida

Population share of older millennials: 13.1%
Median home price: $370,000
Florida – it’s not just for retirees anymore. In fact, quite the opposite. The beach culture is bringing in young people in droves. South Beach is a hot spot for business and fashion-oriented millennials looking to make it big in their careers, while the construction industry also is enjoying a boom. Home affordability can be an issue, but the abundance of up-and-coming neighborhoods attracts young buyers who can purchase at a lower price early while communities are developing.

3. Orlando, Florida

Population share of older millennials: 14.6%
Median home price: $279,000
Orlando is known as “The Theme Park Capital of the World,” but it’s getting just as much attention from millennials as it is from tourists. Downtown Orlando offers easy access to public transportation, shopping and dining, as well as proximity to many jobs. Plus, there’s plenty of entertainment and nightlife for millennials (not to mention beaches 45 minutes in any direction).

4. Seattle, Washington

Population share of older millennials: 15.2%
Median list price: $455,000
It’s easy to see Seattle’s draw: high-paying jobs, booming tech companies, more than 50 bike trails and it’s (arguably) home to the best coffee in the country. As a progressive, ultra-modern metropolis surrounded by natural beauty, Seattle offers plenty of entertainment options for the urbane and the outdoorsy alike. And it’s just a really cool place to live.

5. Houston, Texas

Population share of older millennials: 14.5%
Median list price: $310,000
Houston is home to 26 Fortune 500 companies, and the booming job market draws many young people looking to start careers. Plus, Texas is one of seven states with no income tax. Houston’s close-in neighborhoods are attractive to millennials who like being near downtown, and the abundance of restaurants, bars and craft breweries keeps things lively.

Los Angeles, CA; Buffalo, NY: Albany, NY; San Francisco, CA; and San Jose, CA round out realtor.com’s list, in that order.


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