Has the pendulum swung back to favoring life in the ‘burbs? A new poll conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reveals that millennials would rather buy a home in the suburbs than squeeze into a cramped condo in the city. The survey showed that 66 percent would prefer to live in the suburbs, 24 percent want to live in rural areas, and just 10 percent want to live in a city center. The NAHB used a sample of 1,506 people born since 1977 to come to their conclusions.
“While you are more likely to attract this generation than other generations to buy a condo or a house downtown, that is a relative term,” said Rose Quint, the association’s assistant vice president of survey research to the Wall Street Journal. “The majority of them will still want to buy the house out there in the suburbs.”
NAHB also cites the amount of space available in the suburbs can afford as one of the primary drivers. The study reported 81 percent want a home with three or more rooms. Understanding the preferences of millennials is critical to all industries—there are an estimated 70 and 80 million in the United States, a number that hasn’t been seen since since the baby boomers. Experts predict that demand will grow for single-family homes over condos in large cities.
There are, however, a couple of issues with the survey methodology, which the Journal points out:
“The survey results, though, could be skewed because they included only millennials who first answered that they bought a home within the past three years or intended to do so in the next three years. That excluded young people who intend to rent for many more years, which is a large and growing group, in part because of hefty student debt and the tight mortgage-lending standards of recent years.”
Moreover, they note that the sample is quite small considering that the home ownership rate for heads of households under 35 was only 36 percent in the third quarter of 2014—the lowest recorded since stats were first recorded in 1994.
That being said, most agree, be it as an urban dweller or suburban buyer, that they still want to be in reasonable proximity to the city center, with good access to shops, restaurants, and their workplaces.