Millennials might be the most stereotyped generation in history, but all the attention (for better or for worse) is for good reason. Weighing in at around 80 million people, the age bracket makes up the largest generation in history — now surpassing Baby Boomers. In terms of sheer numbers, this makes them a very powerful demographic.
The fact is, their opinions, habits, financials decisions and passions are shaping the economic and cultural landscape. It’s no wonder they’ve made so many headlines! Where they choose to live matters and where they choose to buy homes also matters.
Those born between 1981 and 1996 are a driving force in the housing market. In fact, half of home buyers are under age 36.
So, where exactly are 20- and 30-something-year-olds hanging out? RENTcafe set out to determine millennial hotspots. As you may have guessed, downtowns and places near downtowns have the most popular zip codes for millennials living in big cities. Downtown L.A. is the top trending place in the U.S. Chicago and New York are also clusters of millennial-laden zip codes. (You can see the full breakdown of zip codes with millennial strongholds here.)
While these cities are great places to lease, their high cost puts homeownership out of reach for many. Despite being dubbed a “generation of renters,” many millennials are indeed purchasing homes. Those born between 1981 and 1996 are a driving force in the housing market. In fact, half of home buyers are under age 36, according to the latest Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report.
So where are folks actually able to buy?
To answer this question, SmartAsset analyzed 200 of the largest cities across the U.S. to determine which places have the highest millennial homeownership rates. They also combed through U.S. Census Bureau data spanning the years 2007 to 2016 to evaluate the percentage change in millennial homeownership rates. It comes as no surprise that, based on these two metrics, none of the big cities made the cut. Here are the top five cities that made the list:
In Olathe, Kansas, over half of the millennial households own their homes. The city is the fourth largest in Kansas in terms of population. This diverse area offers many amenities, from shopping to fun activities, and is known for having a small town feel, highly ranked schools and lots of dog-friendly areas!
Chesapeake has a high millennial ownership rating as well. In 2011, Chesapeake was named the 21st best city in America by Bloomberg Businessweek. Known for its family friendly environment and wonderful scenery, Chesapeake has many historically and geographically distinct communities. The sprawling city is 351 square miles, inclusive of protected farmland, forests and wetlands, and is one of the largest cities in the nation in terms of land area. A short drive to Virginia Beach, Chesapeake is a great spot for those who love the water.
Bakersfield scored highly for millennial buyers looking to put down roots. Kerns County is a more affordable option in comparison to other pricey parts of the state. Plus, California property tax is below the national average. This city has a strong economy and thrives on agriculture and oil, with farming accounting for a good share of the job opportunities.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Millennials have flocked to Sioux Falls. Over half the city’s population owns versus rents. The city has a little bit of everything, including great entertainment, dining options and things to do. Many of the attractions are perfect for the outdoorsy type. Sioux Falls consistently ranks highly on NICHE for categories such as “Best Cities to Buy a House,” “Cities with the Lowest Cost of Living,” and “Best Cities to Raise a Family.”
Homeownership is on the rise in Anchorage and has become a landing spot for millennials who want to call the last frontier their home. Anchorage is Alaska’s most densely populated area, accounting for more than 40 percent of the state’s residents. Four-time winner of the “All-American City Award” by the National Civic League, Anchorage is truly a special place. With a focus on the great outdoors, this city has no shortage of seasonal activities and wildlife to greet you at your front door.