The 'Burbs Are Back: Millennials Move In

Maybe it's true that every generation eventually repeats the one before. Millennials who have flocked to big cities and urban centers over the past decade are now starting to leave for the suburbs, much as their parents did years ago. A new report in the Wall Street Journal shows that suburbs now account for 14 of the 15 fastest-growing cities in America with populations of at least 50,000. At the same time, single-family housing construction is increasing in suburban areas, while falling in urban centers, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Texas has seen the same trend in recent years, with much of the state's population growth driven by suburbs around cities like Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin. Michael Weaster, Houston-based realtor with Berkshire Hathaway, says he is seeing just the start of this trend. "We've talked about how millennials (in urban areas) tend to want everything in one location---swimming pools, the concierge, Wi-Fi---but now they are migrating out, they're going out," he tells KTRH. "It's like that television commercial that talks about growing up to be your parents...I don't think (millennials) ever thought they would be, but they are."

Another interesting phenomenon Weaster notes is that while many millennials are starting to grow up, get married, start families and move to the suburbs, their parents are heading the opposite direction. "The empty nesters, the baby boomers---we're seeing some of them move back into the inner city areas," he says. "Their families are gone, they don't really need a big house, and they can afford it."

Affordable housing is certainly a factor in millennial migration to the suburbs, as many 20- and 30-somethings find themselves priced out of real estate in the big cities. Nevertheless, Weaster doesn't see millennials completely abandoning cities. "I've seen some of them migrating, if you will," he says. "But I still think the millennial generation will be entrenched in the inner city areas for a while...I don't think the escape is yet happening."

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