Millennial Buyers Aid Rust Belt Resurgence

September 25, 2018

More young adults in search of affordable housing are moving to states like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. This area of the country—known as the Rust Belt—has seen its population decline in recent years, mostly from the loss of manufacturing and plant jobs. But the region could soon see a resurgence due to a swarm of millennials looking for a place to call home.

Map of Ohio, Lake Erie, and Michigan featuring Detroit

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It’s not just the affordable homes in the area that are luring this age group, Constantine Valhouli, director of research for NeighborhoodX, told CNBC. “It is about having roots and contributing to the revival of a place that needs businesses that create jobs and create value,” he says.

Millennials are seeing financial opportunities in Rust Belt cities, and homeownership can often be snagged far below prices in bigger cities, says Paul Boomsma, president and CEO of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.

“Millennials are swiping up properties for next-to-nothing prices near downtown city areas that have completely revitalized,” Boomsma says.

Some millennials may not even work in these cities but are choosing to put down roots in Rust Belt cities over higher-priced coastal regions. “More and more people are now working virtually, which means they do not need to be in their office and can work from almost anywhere,” Ralph DiBugnara, senior vice president at Residential Home Funding, told CNBC. “So why not find somewhere to live where your city dollars can go a lot further?”

Millennials are creating an increase in demand for new apartments in the Rust Belt area. These apartments can also serve as “a catalyst for retail, grocery, and office development,” says Todd Stofflet, managing partner at the KIG CRE brokerage firm. “As downtown populations experience a resurgence, so does the dining, entertainment, and lifestyle of the area.”