Wave of millennials embracing suburban living over city bustle

data blogMay 15, 2019
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As seen on CTPost.com

For a generation known for its desire for a work-and-play environment, millennials, experts say, want something a bit quainter when they decide to start a family.

A survey conducted by the New Canaan Board of Realtors found that new millennial homebuyers are embracing a suburban life that offers the convenience of a downtown area and good school systems. The BOR surveyed roughly 20 of New Canaan’s recent buyers, who were mostly millennials in their 30s moving from New York into Connecticut.

As millennials settle into careers and get married, they are looking to get out of the metropolitan apartments and into a cozy home outside of the city limits.

“Moving from the city into the suburbs is a big change,” Janis Hennessy, president of the New Canaan Board of Realtors, said in a news release. “Our goal is to make buyers feel welcomed and help them experience the many benefits of living in New Canaan.”

Millennials account for 42 percent of homebuyers nationwide — and 43 percent of first-time buyers purchase in the suburbs, according to The Zillow Group 2018 Consumer Housing Trends Reports.

Coming years will see a surge of first-time buyers in the millennial generation, which currently ranges between 23 and 37 years old.

Data gathered by Zillow claimed that more than 44.9 million millennials will turn 34, the median age of current first-time homebuyers, between 2019 and 2028.

The BOR found that a good school system in a walkable community were among the most desired qualities among buyers they surveyed.

Those are common desires for young families, but that hasn’t always been affordable in Connecticut — especially in New Canaan.

The average listing price for a home in New Canaan is more than $1.5 million according to Realtor.com, while other sources say the average sale price is slightly under $1 million.

The median adjusted income in a household headed by a millennial was $69,000 in 2017, according to the Pew Research Center.

Though the average New Canaan home is out of reach for plenty of young professionals in Connecticut, Hennessy said the town has become more affordable to some — particularly New York millennials starting a family with dual incomes from well-paying jobs.

But, as millennials settle into their careers and get married, Hennessey said they are looking to get out of the metropolitan apartments and into a cozy home outside of the city limits.

That is a different experience for in-state millennials, according to experts.

“Student loans are making it harder for millennials, then there is the shortage of properties on top of everything,” said Charles Scott, president of the Greater Bridgeport Board of Realtors.

Student loan debt in the United States is around $1.5 trillion, more than doubling over the past decade. That debt continues to be a detriment to many young professionals buying their first home, Scott said.

Available inventory of homes is also an ongoing issue, according to Drew Taraian, of Shelton-based Real Estate Two Inc.

He said he runs into millennials who are interested in buying a home at open houses.

“I don’t really think they are ready,” he said. “They are out there looking but aren’t really serious about buying.”

For those who have made purchases, Taraian said they’ve been in their early 30s and were looking for smaller plots of land located near the downtown area.

The barriers to homeownership coupled with growing demand for housing has had at least one positive indicator for the real estate market: it’s helped bolstered the local renter market in recent years, resulting in additional development throughout Fairfield County.

A lot of construction is still going on for apartments and condominiums in different communities to meet growing demands from young professionals without families.