RealtyTrac: Mobile Millenial Market Key to Housing Recovery
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RealtyTrac: Mobile Millenial Market Key to Housing Recovery

September 18, 2014

RealtyTrac has analyzed U.S. Census Bureau population data between 2007 and 2013 in more than 1,800 counties nationwide to discover which markets are seeing the biggest shifts in both baby boomer and millennial populations, overlaying that data with information on median prices, price appreciation and rental rates to create a heat map of their migration patterns. The analysis further focused in on the top 10 counties for increases and decreases in both millennials and baby boomers.
“The millennial generation is the key to a sustained real estate recovery and boomers who are downsizing are helping open the door for many first-time homebuyers, while also driving demand for purchases and rentals in the markets where they are moving,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. “Naturally, millennials are attracted to markets with good job prospects and low unemployment but that tend to have high rental rates and high home price appreciation, while boomers are moving to lower populated areas which have slower home price appreciation.”
Millennials are moving to places with more opportunities to find jobs
The millennial generation is generally moving from lower-priced to higher-priced markets for both buying and renting, with the tradeoff being more jobs (lower unemployment) and higher median incomes in the markets they are moving to. The top two counties for percentage increase in millennials between 2007 and 2013 were in the D.C. metro area—Arlington County, Va., which saw an increase of millennials of 82 percent and Alexandria City, Va., which saw and increase of 81 percent. Not surprisingly both counties have a favorable unemployment rate of 3.2 percent and 3.6 percent respectively, well below the national average. Orleans Parish, La., in the New Orleans metro area, was third on the list with an increase of 71 percent and San Francisco County, Calif., where high home appreciation hasn’t scared millennials from moving to, was fourth on the list with an increase of 68 percent. Rounding out the top five was Denver County, Colo., which saw an increase of 57 percent in its millennial population between 2007 and 2013.
Other counties among the top 10 for biggest percentage increase in millennial population between 2007 and 2013 were Montgomery County, Tenn., (46 percent increase), Hudson County, N.J., (44 percent increase), New York County, N.Y., (43 percent increase), and Multnomah County, Ore. (41 percent increase).
Real estate and economic characteristics among the top 10 counties with the biggest percentage increase in millennial population between 2007 and 2013:
►Average household income: $62,496
►Average population: 587,522
►Median home price: $406,800
►Average annual home price appreciation: 4.3 percent
►Average fair market rent for 3-bedroom: $1,619
►Average gross yield on rental: 6.2 percent
►Average unemployment rate: 5.2 percent
Baby Boomers are moving to lower-priced markets
The baby boomer generation is generally moving from higher-priced to lower-priced markets for both buying and renting, with the tradeoff being lower median household incomes and slower home price appreciation. The top markets with the biggest percentage increase in baby boomers between 2007 and 2013 were Brunswick County, N.C. in the Wilmington metro area where the median home price was well below the national average at $115,000 but had an increase of boomers of 50 percent. Following closely was Pinal County, Ariz., in the Phoenix metro area up 41 percent, Charlotte County, Fla., in the Punta Gorda metro area up 34 percent and Beaufort County, S.C. in the Hilton Head metro area up 34 percent. Rounding out the top five was Sussex County, Del., where the millennial population increased 31 percent between 2007 and 2013.
Other counties among the top 10 for biggest percentage increase in baby boomer population between 2007 and 2013 were Orleans Parish, La., (30 percent increase), Citrus County, Fla., (28 percent increase), Lee County, Fla., (28 percent increase), Yavapai County, Ariz., (27 percent increase), and Lake County, Fla., (27 percent increase).
“Boomers are recovering from a recession that wiped out much of the equity in both the stock and housing markets,” said Chris Pollinger, senior vice president of sales at First Team Real Estate, covering the Southern California market.  “We are seeing many boomers cash out as they regain the equity that was lost in the last downturn.”
Real estate and economic characteristics among the top 10 counties with the biggest percentage increase in baby boomer population between 2007 and 2013:
►Average household income: $46,268
►Average population: 261,232
►Median home price: $144,875
►Average annual home price appreciation: 4.3 percent
►Average fair market rent for 3-bedroom: $1,182
►Average gross yield on rental: 10.7 percent
►Average unemployment rate: 5.8 percent
Millennials are moving away from areas with small populations
Millennials are moving away from counties with a smaller population (average 178,277) to counties with a larger population (average 587,522). Top markets losing millennials between 2007 and 2013 were Fayette County, Ga., in the Atlanta metro area, which saw a 31 percent decrease in the millennial population. Trailing closely behind was Citrus County, Fla., in theHomosassa Springs metro area with a decrease of 27 percent, El Dorado County, Calif., in the Sacramento metro area with a decrease of 25 percent, Yavapai County, Ariz., in the Prescott metro area with a decrease of 23 percent, and St. Clair County in the Detroit metro area with a decrease of 22 percent.
Other counties in the top 10 for the biggest percentage decrease in millennial population between 2007 and 2013 were Livingston County, Mich., (20 percent decrease), DeKalb County, Ill., (20 percent decrease), Monroe County, Mich., (19 percent decrease), Monroe County, Pa., (19 percent decrease), and Orange County, N.Y. (18 percent decrease).
Real estate and economic characteristics among the top 10 counties with the biggest percentage decrease in millennial population between 2007 and 2013:
►Average household income: $57,656
►Average population: 178,277
►Median home price: $151,165
►Average annual home price appreciation: 8.6 percent
►Average fair market rent for 3-bedroom: $1,243
►Average gross yield on rental: 11.4 percent
►Average unemployment rate: 6.9 percent
Baby boomers are leaving densely populated areas
Baby boomers are moving from counties with a larger population (average 809,464) to counties with a smaller population (261,232). Four of the top 10 counties losing baby boomers were in the Atlanta metro area, Fulton County, Ga., (22 percent decrease), DeKalb County, Ga., (21 percent decrease), Clayton County, Ga., (16 percent decrease) and Cobb County, Ga. (14 percent decrease). Two of the top 10 counties where baby boomers are leaving are in the DC metro area - Arlington County, Va., (21 percent decrease) and Alexandria City, Va., (-15 percent).
Other counties in the top 10 for the biggest percentage decrease in baby boomer population between 2007 and 2013 were Wayne County, Mich., (17 percent decrease), Milwaukee County, Wis., (14 percent decrease), New York County, N.Y., (14 percent decrease), and Hamilton County, Ohio, (13 percent decrease).
Trends in population evident within metropolitan areas
The above population trends are also evident within the same metropolitan area, with millennials moving from lower-populated counties to higher-populated counties within the same metro, and baby boomers doing the opposite or moving out of the area entirely. Prime examples of this include Washington, D.C., Denver, New York and Portland.
Real estate and economic characteristics among the top 10 counties with the biggest percentage decrease in baby boomer population between 2007 and 2013:
►Average household income: $59,280
►Average population: 809,464
►Median home price: $260,521
►Average annual home price appreciation: 11.7 percent
►Average fair market rent for 3-bedroom: $1,371
►Average gross yield on rental: 12.0 percent
►Average unemployment rate: 6.2 percent

Originations, Residential, Trends