Goodbye, city life: Millennials pine for suburbs, survey says

Only ten percent of respondents prefer living in urban areas

83 Skyline Drive in Morristown, N.J.
83 Skyline Drive in Morristown, N.J.

Economists have argued over the housing preferences of millennials — people born in the 1980s and 1990s. But a new survey shows that the bulk of millennials have their sights set on single-family suburban homes.

The survey, released Wednesday by the National Association of Home Builders, was based on responses from 1,506 people born since 1977. Of the respondents, two out of three said they want to live in the suburbs, while 24 percent prefer rural homes. About ten percent would prefer to live in a city center. One of the main reasons millennials prefer the suburbs is there is more space, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Millennials’ preferences have implications for almost every industry. The age group, estimated at between 70 and 80 million people, is the biggest population bulge since baby boomers.

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The polling data could be skewed, however. The results were based on respondents who had first answered that they had either purchased a home in the last three years or intend to within the next three years. This is a limited group, given that the homeownership rate for heads of households under 35 was only 36 percent in the third quarter of 2014. That’s the lowest rate since the U.S. Department of Commerce started tracking the statistic in 1994.

Ironstate Development will open a waterfront development in Staten Island this year that aims to attract millennials. In October, The Real Deal reported on a swelling millennial populating in Kansas City[WSJ] — Tess Hofmann