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The Best Cities for Millennial Homebuyers

According to a report from Construction Coverage [1], the top-three small metros for millennial homebuyers were Johnstown, Pennsylvania; St. Joseph, Missouri; and Gadsden, Alabama. 

The most ideal midsize metros were Wichita, Kansas; Mobile, Alabama; and Toledo, Ohio. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was found to be the best large market for millennials. 

The report took into account criteria such as housing affordability, cost of living, employment opportunities, and forecasted home-value growth to rate the best cities for millennials to buy homes. They further narrowed this rating system to cover three groups of metros based on population: Large metros (1 million or more residents); midsize metros (350,000-999,999 residents), and small metros: (less than 350,000 residents).

The U.S. Census Bureau found that the homeownership rate among this demographic grew from 35%in 2018 to an estimated 37% in 2019. Although this positive uptick appears hopeful, this homeownership rate is still a far cry from the top rate presented in 2004 among millennials. 

Experts in the housing industry attribute this slowing rate to various key factors, among which include the fact that a vast majority of millennials are still consumed with student debt, while still working at jobs that are far from placing them at their peak earning potentials. 

The U.S. Census Bureau data reveals that the average income for millennials is just $40,000 per year. Clearly, while this amount could possibly allow this generation to cover the monthly mortgage payments on a new home, the problematic factor of being unable to afford the initial sum of a down payment plagues many millennials, thus barring them from buying.

Another factor experts say contributes to this lower homeownership rate among millennials is the fact that many of them are waiting much longer to get married and have children compared to previous generations, such as the baby boomers. One hopeful factor that experts to share is that since millennials do seem to be very invested in their careers and have a growing desire to someday start families and settle down in homes of their own, the homeownership rate should likewise start to rise.