Millennials and their Dwellings: Why one size doesn’t fit all

Millennials are fast making their mark on the nation. With older members well established in businesses, others creating ground breaking start-up companies, and younger ones moving into society and the workforce, they are a multifaceted generation influencing how, why, and where real estate is being developed. Freedom and mobility are two big motivators for this age group. As a result, many are apartment dwellers—either by choice or out of necessity.

Freedom and mobility are two big motivators for this age group. As a result, many are apartment dwellers—either by choice or out of necessity.

“The big thing for me, and probably most millennials, when looking for a place to live is location,” says Zachary Reisner 14BBA, a commercial real estate investment analyst living in New York City. “People are looking for the urban lifestyle with lots of amenities in the building and close proximity to public transportation, restaurants, and other conveniences.”

While a certain percentage of millennials are returning home after college out of necessity, some like Jahi Villinger 14BBA, a senior consultant at EY, did so to add that extra money needed for a down payment.

“I bought a home my first year out of college,” says Villinger. “I was living at home, and I’d been saving for quite some time before that. Obviously not having to pay rent made it easier.”

Other economic factors are making home ownership more appealing. One of those is that after a rash of apartment building, rents for these units are rising at a rapid clip. Coupled with generally low mortgage rates, the appeal of owning a home is rising as well.

Justin Hershatter 15BBA, a project coordinator at Urjanet, bought his first home in 2014 in an up-and-coming urban neighborhood in Atlanta.

“The market was on the upswing, but still lower than it is now,” he explains. “The timing felt right, and also just knowing the growth that’s going on in Atlanta, I thought it would be a good time to start looking.”

Hershatter came into home ownership from an apartment in Midtown. He was used to living in a busy urban area and wanted to continue to have access to the amenities of the city.

“I was looking for something less traditional than many home buyers,” he says. “I wasn’t trying to find a quiet neighborhood or a lot of privacy. Instead, I was looking for walkability and access to restaurants and businesses and activities. I wanted to be at the geographical and driving center of things.”

Andrew K. Stein 11MBA, a consultant with Deloitte, seconds that idea. As one of the many millennials who telecommutes, Stein had more freedom in choosing where to live. He and his wife found the perfect home in Inman Park, right on the BeltLine.

“During the day we’ll bike to a coffee shop while our son is with the sitter, because my wife also works from home,” he says. “On the weekends we bike to farmers’ markets. We only have to get in our car a couple of times a week. That’s a lovely way to live in Atlanta.”

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