It seems that for over the past couple years, or perhaps even a bit longer, there’s been a lot of chatter about how millennials are specifically seeking out an urban lifestyle that’s easy, efficient, and provides plenty of things to do within a close proximity to where they live. But while the broad assumption is that city life tends to be the direction most millennials are taking when buying or renting a home, condo, or apartment, a pair of recently released studies actually tells a different story.
Contrary to popular belief, each of the reports, which were separately released by Zillow and Harvard University, actually suggests the bulk of millennial home buyers not only prefer the suburbs to the city but have already started buying homes and condos away from urban city centers, citing affordability as the number one factor in choosing suburban locations.
According to Zillow’s Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends, which used both Census data and a Zillow survey of roughly 13,000 home buyers, sellers, and renters, almost 50% of millennial home owners in the U.S. lived in the suburbs in 2016, compared to 33% who live in an urban area and just 20% in rural places throughout the country.
The Harvard study also found similar results, specifically noting that affordability plays a much stronger role in where younger home buyers are buying, as opposed to other location and lifestyle factors, which are now labeled as a misconception if you go strictly by the data.
So as more millennial home buyers look at value and affordability when choosing where to live, what does this mean for a city like Duluth?
Although most of the Duluth area is still well over 2 hours away from Minneapolis or St. Paul, it’s a Minnesota city that still has a lot to offer from a lifestyle standpoint, and it’s hard to argue against its affordability as well.
According to recent stats from Zillow, Duluth’s median home value is still only $153,300, and that’s even after home values here jumped 12.1% over the past year. In the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, the median home value has quietly jumped to $239,700, and that’s also expected to increase by over 3% within the next 12 months.