Skip to content
CityLab
Housing

Millennials Are More Likely to Buy Their First Homes in Cities

New research finds that Millennials are 21 percent more likely to buy their first homes near city centers than Generation X.
A man walks past open-house signs in front of condominiums for sale in Santa Monica, California.
A man walks past open-house signs in front of condominiums for sale in Santa Monica, California.Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

If there’s a single question that has gnawed at urban economists and planners over the past few years, it’s this: Will Millennials’ well-known love of cities fade once they have kids and need space for double strollers and play kitchens, or is it a more lasting shift in how Americans will decide where to live? We’ve heard the argument that Millennials have “peaked” in cities and will eventually suburbanize from demographer Dowell Myers (cited by Conor Dougherty in the New York Times), and the counter-argument from City Observatory’s Joe Cortright and others. One researcher, Harvard’s Hyojung Lee, has tried to square the circle by arguing that Millennials are both urban and suburban.

Although it doesn’t put the debate to rest, a new paper shows that Millennials are at least continuing to tilt urban as they stop renting and become homeowners.