Will “Millenials” Change the Landscape of US Real Estate?



A new survey by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) suggests that Americans aged between 18 and 34 – otherwise known as ‘Millenials’ or ‘Generation Y’ – could become a “game changer” in the future of US real estate. As such, real estate professionals are being advised to take careful note of this demographics’ preferences when it comes to buying a home.

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This advice comes after the ULI quizzed around 1,200 Millenials, finding that the vast majority of the prefer a ‘downtown’ lifestyle, living in neighborhoods that offer a variety of housing types. For instance, 62% of respondents said that they’d prefer to live in a mixed-use development, with easy access to their place of work, shops, restaurants and other entertainment facilities. As additional 52% desired to live in pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, found the ULI.

Close proximity to public transportation was also in demand, with 55% of Millenials listing this as a requirement. As such, it comes as no surprise that Millenials are far more likely to want to live in downtown apartments that other generations, said the ULI.

Patrick Phillips, Chief Executive of the ULI, said that younger generations seem to have different priorities from those in older demographics. He predicted that Millenials would likely stick to their preference for more compact, urban homes even as they get older. As such, the US construction industry is likely to see a trend towards more mixed-use development in the coming years.

Phillips added:

“Over time, we’ll see a return to a more compact, metropolitan development pattern. We’ll see less sprawl at the edges… the market will prefer solutions that are closer in.”

In spite of these comments, one can’t help thinking that Phillips is misguided in this belief. No arguments that younger people prefer a more ‘exciting’ and convenient lifestyle at the moment, but once these people grow up, get sick of the urban lifestyle, and develop responsibilities like providing a safe and secure home environment for their children, their priorities could easily change.