Millennials Want Suburbs That Feel Like a City
July 20, 2016
Millennials may be drawn from pricey city centers to the less expensive suburbs, but nonetheless say they want a suburb that still has the look and feel of a big city in some ways. Some suburbs are finding means to cater to that desire and promoting the amenities they can offer to attract more younger people.
The Next Big Thing: The 'Burbs
For example, some are touting their specialty shops, dining options, and the plentiful sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails. The bike lanes and trails may be one of the biggest lures. Homes near walkable — and bikeable — trails get a premium boost of 5 percent to 10 percent, according to a study by Headwaters Economics, a research group focused on land management and community development.
“What’s happening is, a little bit of the city is following people into the suburbs,” says Ed McMahon, senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute. “Almost all the successful suburbs are building walkable, mixed-use [i.e., a housing and shopping combo] centers.”
Also possibly getting more millennials relocating to the suburbs, more companies are either moving or expanding to suburban areas to lower their operating costs.
“What millennials want are places that have a vibrancy, where you … can shop, go out to bars, walk, and bike,” says Lynn Richards, president and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism.
Suburban communities across the country are spending more money to overhaul their Main Streets and make their downtown more walkable, says Brett Schwarz, program manager at the National Association of Development Organizations. They’re installing bike paths and trails that link to neighborhoods or nearby towns.
In the past year alone, 136 communities nationwide applied to be designated as bicycle-friendly communities through the League of American Bicyclists (63 were suburbs, while 17 were rural towns).
Bicycling is becoming the fastest-growing form of transportation in the country, according to McMahon. In 1983, more than 87 percent of 19-year-olds had a driver’s license. By 2014, that percentage has dropped to 69 percent.
Source: “Bike Lanes Are Bringing More Millennials to the Suburbs,” realtor.com® (July 20, 2016)
Updated: November 12, 2018