Where are they all going?

in Industry Trends

The race to corner the mobile millennial demographic

Millennials have often felt the brunt of harsh generational criticism, often labeled as lazy, overly-ideological and narcissistic.

The stereotypical millennial lives with his parents at 30, still enjoying a blissful second adolescence while reeling from a mountain of college debt and the inevitable onslaught of seismic life choices.

 

Yet, there are suggestions – like those made by Time Magazine – that those umbrella presumptions about millennials aren’t actually indicative of their current life choices. Maybe, those same good-for-nothing, naval-gazing millennials are actually targeting higher paying jobs in more expensive cities.Maybe, those same self-absorbed, lackadaisical millennials are making a firm push to find jobs in areas of high rental rates and home appreciation, while baby boomers meander in the opposite direction.

 

Given that the millennials now make up 26 percent of the U.S. adult population, it is worth some investigation on the part of real estate firms to analyse this generation’s wanderlust and where, exactly, they’re going.

The simple answer: the city.Urbanization is the word when pinpointing the migration of the crucial millennial demographic. They are flocking to metropolises in droves, with Washington DC seeing the most significant uptick given an 87 percent increase in millennial population growth.

According to RealtyTrac, these are the top 10 fastest growing cities in the U.S. based on their respective influx of millennials.

 

Rank

County

State

Metro Area

% Increase in millennial population, 2007-2013

Millennials % of Total Population, 2013

Median Home Price, April 2014

Average Monthly Apartment rent (3 beds), 2014

1

Arlington County

Va.

Washington DC

82%

39%

$505,000

$1,996

2

Alexandria City

Va.

Washington DC

81%

34%

$465,000

$1,996

3

Orleans Parish

La.

New Orleans

71%

30%

$140,000

$1,190

4

San Francisco County

Calif.

San Francisco

68%

32%

$950,000

$2,657

5

Denver County

Colo.

Denver

57%

33%

$270,000

$1,409

6

Montgomery County

Tenn.

Clarksville

46%

31%

$128,000

$1,016

7

Hudson County

N.J.

New York

44%

31%

$330,000

$1,643

8

New York County

N.Y.

New York

43%

32%

$850,000

$1,852

9

Multnomah County

Ore.

Portland

41%

28%

$270,000

$1,359

10

Davidson County

Tenn.

Nashville

37%

29%

$160,000

$1,131

 

Other noteworthy factors include differences in lifestyle and a likelihood to be more nomadic where “shoebox apartments take precedence over white picket fences”. Millennials are changing current paradigms of how and where people work and live. With more people working from home than ever (with millennials leading the charge), the concept of “home” will be continuously in flux (and probably even more urban).

Millennials want to be where the action is and, despite jumping into a less-than-ideal job market (though it is improving) with high student debt, renting apartments and being in the heart of urban life remains a high priority for them. With many not qualified for a mortgage, and in no immediate need to finance a house given delays in marriage (and having a family), the rental market currently serves as the most suitable option. The rent surge is so strong, in fact, that European countries are even calling millennials “generation rent”.

Understanding where millennials are going and, more importantly, why they’re going those places, is the first step to targeting the largest demographic group since the baby boomers.

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