Erica Hill

Millennials are moving to suburbia in record numbers, but they’re taking some of the city with them when they go.

Millennials now comprise a full one-third of home buyers in the United States, making them the biggest segment of buyers in the country. And while past reports have posited that the rise of the Millennial home buyer will spell out the demise of suburbia, new research from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows just the opposite – that Millennials are eschewing buying homes in cities in favor of moving to the suburbs, just as their parents and grandparents did before them.

The difference is that whereas other generations of young people were content to make a complete and immediate switch from an urban lifestyle to a suburban one upon moving, Millennials are taking some aspects of city living with them when they plant their suburban roots. This has resulted in more green spaces, better schools, more upscale retailers and healthier food options in suburban areas that have largely remained isolated and unchanged until now.

Furthermore, NAR’s research shows that in addition to transforming the economic landscape of their new neighborhoods in suburbia, Millennials also prefer to transform and personalize their houses, as well. Although the houses they are buying are structurally similar to the prototypical suburban houses of yore – single-family, detached residences with three bedrooms and two bathrooms – Millennials are much more likely to purchase fixer-uppers that they can renovate exactly to their liking over already-finished houses that may lack personality.

As a Real Estate professional, I am fascinated by the generational difference between what Baby Boomers look for in a new house and what Millennials find appealing. It will certainly be interesting to see the lasting influence that Millennials’ preferences will have on the real estate market as this demographic ages and has children of their own!