The reluctant relocation of a downtown dweller

That 30 year-old your company just hired? The one with the killer beard and pithy t-shirts? He just traded in his city condo with the rooftop garden for a three-bedroom in the suburbs. Turns out he is the marrying kind, and the kind he is marrying wants to paint a nursery sooner rather than later. Another reality check? That dude’s a Millennial.

It’s true: that baby born to a soundtrack of The Bangles and Bananarama (yet doesn’t know a Cruel Summer from a Manic Monday) is now buying a house in a planned community. His priorities have shifted from being within walking distance of a small batch distillery duplexed with a hot yoga studio to having a garage that will protect his crossover SUV and jogging stroller from the elements. 

He still looks so downtown hipster, though… what happened?

The urge to settle down is just the foundation on this pragmatic real estate move. It happens to coincide with an eventual frustration over rising urban rent, and the subsequent realization that the price to buy a city dwelling with a bit more space is often prohibitive. Sure, he and his fellow Millennials are employed, by and large, but sluggish wage growth has meant a slower climb out of student debt, which has stunted their ability to save for a big down payment.

As a result, the late-twenties/early-thirties set is opting for more bang for their buck in the ‘burbs. According to the National Association of Realtors’ recent year-over-year surveys of 95,000 homebuyers, Millennials buying in urban areas dropped from 21 percent to 17 percent, with the gap going largely to the suburban communities.

So when you see that guy in the break room, bemoaning the absence of food trucks outside the city limits, remind him that the mini Millennial in that 3-D ultrasound image he’s been passing around will love her ‘hood’s fountained pool and high density trick-or-treating someday. Truth be told, so will he.