Diving Deeper into Millennial Residential Location Choice

Authors: Jamey Volker*, University of California, Davis
Topics: Urban Geography, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: housing, millennials, residential location choice
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: 8223, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Millennials will dominate the market for new housing over the next decade. According to surveys, millennials have a stronger preference than previous generations for neighborhood walkability and living in urban locations. But stated preferences are often not acted upon, and therefore not an accurate proxy for actual housing demand. So what type of housing will millennials actually demand? What factors are most important to them in deciding where and in what type of house to live? And how do their residential location choices and decisionmaking processes differ from those of previous generations? I explored these questions through more than 20 in-depth interviews of millennial couples in California who recently bought and moved into a new house. Most households indicated that they did at one point have a greater preference for walkable urban environments close to work, friends and amenities. But that preference was somewhat fleeting. Many interviewees revealed a long-standing dream of owning a single-family home. And most reported a desire for more space, often to accommodate children or hobbies. That led most households to purchase homes farther from their jobs, friends and amenities than their previous residences. Nonetheless, many households reported that they were less willing to “move to a bigger house in the suburbs” than their parents’ generation. In addition, most households set either a commute time or distance cordon for their housing search, and many also used public transit access as a housing search criterion. Despite sacrificing urban living, urban access remained key for these millennials.

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