Many millennials may consider owning a home out of reach due to high student loans and the lack of affordable housing. But in many cities, the millennial generation is making up a larger percentage of homeowners, according to a study by Improvenet. Few Northeastern cities were ranked high in the study, with the exception of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
Using US Census Bureau data, Improvenet analyzed more than 170 cities nationwide with populations of 150,000 or more to determine which cities have the highest rates of millennial homeownership. Nationwide, millennials make up roughly 11 percent of homeowners in cities with populations over 150,000.
“Cost of living and job market were the two reasons that stood out the most from the data we analyzed,” said Matt Zajechowski, Improvenet outreach team lead. “Very few cities with a high cost of living cracked the top 50 for any of the three lists we analyzed. For example, you’ll notice that states like California and New York are largely absent from our list.”
For cities with the most single millennial homeowners, Pittsburgh stood out, ranking #5, with 4.2%. Philadelphia ranked #30, with 2.8% single millennial homeowners.
“Millennials have great job opportunities here in the Pittsburgh area,” said Bob Moncavage, president of the Realtors® Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh. “Tech companies like Google and Uber’s self-driving car division, our healthcare-focused industries and financial players have a major impact in bringing millennials to the greater Pittsburgh area. Our well-documented, affordable housing stock and diversity of sports, cultural, entertainment and dining options make them want to put down roots here.”
Moncavage said millennials tend to buy in trendier and/or up-and-coming neighborhoods, usually opting for move-in ready homes with top notch treatments and amenities.
Pittsburgh also ranked in the top 30 cities with the most millennial homeowners with 14%; Philadelphia followed, with an average of 11.1%.
Stephanie Biello, president of the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors® said despite the current shutdown due to COVID-19 pandemic, Realtors® are seeing millennials looking to rent and/or buy in center city. “Although foot traffic has come to a stop, we still have a lot of website requests for more information,” she added.
“The common reason we find with millennials for moving into the city is they love the energy of ‘city living.’ They like to be close to good restaurants, outdoor activities and convenient shopping,” Biello noted. “It will be interesting to see their home buying behavior now that they have been home and not able to enjoy some of the amenities that drove them to center city. Nonetheless center city living is definitely more affordable compared to similar metropolitan cities on the East Coast, and we have the most amazing restaurants.”
For cities with the most millennial family homeowners, Pittsburgh ranked 94, with 5.8% and Philadelphia ranked 141, with 4.2%.