Millennials are Thriving—Personally and Professionally—in These Five Cities

by Real estate financingMission+
8 minutes read

Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City and Detroit Have among the Highest Rates of Millennial Homeownership and Business Ownership

In many coastal metros, millennials have a hard time saving up enough money to own a home or start a business. But inland, where homes and costs of living are more affordable, millennials are able to lay down roots, start businesses, and as a result they are transforming places like Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City, and Detroit into hip havens for their generation. Across the 50 largest U.S. metros, 31.9 percent of millennials (those age 18 to 34) own homes and 5.9 percent of businesses are owned by millennials. But millennials are achieving even more in Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City, Detroit, Raleigh and Hartford, the only metros in our analysis where the millennial homeownership rate is greater than 35 percent and the share of businesses owned by millennials is greater than 6.5 percent.

Rank Metro Area Millennial Homeownership Rate (2017)* Share of Businesses Owned by Millennials (2017)** Median Home Sale Price (April 2019) Walk Score (2017)
1 Salt Lake City, UT 0.406 0.084 335000 57
2 Oklahoma City, OK 0.368 0.078 180000 33
3 Detroit, MI 0.415 0.066 125000 55
4 Raleigh, NC 0.358 0.069 295000 30
5 Hartford, CT 0.36 0.068 218000 71
Median of 50 Largest U.S. Metros 0.319 0.059 256450 51

Note: rank based on combination of millennial homeownership rate and share of businesses owned by millennials. Sources: *2017 American Community Survey, **2017 Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs.

Salt Lake City, Utah
“Salt Lake City has a vibrant community of young professionals, made up of people who grew up here or went to college here and stayed, and a growing share of people who are moving here from New York, Seattle and California for tech jobs–and bringing their incomes with them,” said local Redfin agent Ryan Aycock. “There is a big tech market here: Lehi is a mecca for tech companies like Adobe, eBay and more. It’s called the ‘Silicon Slopes.’”
“I recently helped homebuyer move to Salt Lake City from the Palo Alto area, where he had been renting a two-bedroom, one-bath condo. Here, he bought a $650,000 house where he could work remotely, still on his Palo Alto salary. He was astonished that his Salt Lake City mortgage would cost him less per month than his California rent,” continued Aycock, “I’ve found that affordability is the number one concern for millennials.”
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
“Oklahoma remains a strong choice for affordable housing and is a great place for small businesses to grow,” said local Redfin agent Michelle Leader. “We have a beautiful downtown that offers unique food options, dog parks, entertainment, and a waterpark.  This coupled with our new public trolley system attracts people seeking an urban lifestyle without breaking the bank to get it.”
“We tend to see people wanting to make investments in the downtown area as it is growing,” continued Leader. “We also see a high demand for art district homes like the Plaza or Paseo as the desired area due to the availability of artistic shops, dining, and entertainment.”
Detroit, Michigan
“A lot of millennials are coming back home after attending university or living in other larger metros, particularly Chicago, given its close proximity across the lake,” said local Redfin agent Adam Rasor. “Job opportunities are abundant in the Detroit region, with surrounding suburbs like Ann Arbor and Troy fostering a lot of tech companies.”
“There is a big push in new construction right now to cater to the tastes of millennial homebuyers. Not a lot of millennials are looking to take on renovation projects,” continued Rasor. “ Communities like Royal Oak are experiencing an influx of younger homeowners and the downtown areas are growing with more attractions and nightlife as a result. Communities like Ferndale foster an inclusive LGBTQ atmosphere.”
Raleigh, North Carolina
Millennials are moving from the Northeast, D.C. and California to Raleigh for the affordable housing and high-tech job opportunities, and they are bringing their parents with them, according to local Redfin agents. Millennials with new or growing families are drawn to Research Triangle Park and companies like Sysco, Citrix and Epic Games. The relatively warm climate and affordable housing is attractive to their Baby Boomer parents, who follow to be close to their children and grandchildren. Raleigh, the state capital, is often compared to Charlotte. But while Charlotte is a banking-centric city in terms of job opportunities, Raleigh has more of a startup culture. Raleigh boasts flex workspaces and a start-up culture, which is unique for the South-Atlantic area.
Hartford, Connecticut
Millennials on the East Coast are moving to Hartford in search of affordable housing with urban amenities.
“Over the past decade, we have seen a revitalization of downtown Hartford, very much catering  to millennials,” said local Redfin agent Richard Thomas. “Transit has improved, with the latest addition of the Hartford train line that connects Connecticut to Massachusetts and onward to New York City. We have also seen redevelopment of factories into housing. There are new downtown apartments, riverfront activities and festivities.”
“As the proclaimed ‘insurance capital of the world,’ Hartford offers plenty of well-paying employment opportunities for recent graduates as well as reasonable housing prices, making it an affordable alternative to the larger, more expensive nearby cities,” continued Thomas. “The recent addition of the downtown UConn campus brings more youth into the city and the university is surrounded by restaurants, cultural arts and entertainment.” Hartford is the most walkable city on our list with a Walk ScoreⓇ of 71 out of 100.


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