by Dan Rafter
Don Lawby, president of Real Property Management in Salt Lake City, Utah, doesn’t argue that Millennials aren’t embracing home ownership. He agrees that renting holds a greater lure for these young consumers.
But Lawby doesn’t agree that the narrative is a simple one. There are many reasons — and often complicated reasons — why Millennials are renting and not buying. It’s too easy, and inaccurate, to say that these younger consumers simply prefer renting.
“This is not just about a new generation of consumers who simply changed their minds about housing choices,” Lawby said during an interview with Midwest Real Estate News. “This new generation didn’t just wake up and say that they prefered renting to buying. That’s not it at all. There are many things at play here.”
Lawby points to a host of factors: The economy is still shaky. Many Millennials worry that their jobs aren’t secure. It doesn’t make sense, then, for them to take out a big mortgage payment. Others have graduated from college with loads of student debt. They can’t afford down payments, and they worry about taking on even more debt.
At the same time, Millennials are getting married later. They’re starting families later. Without children, there isn’t as much drive for the backyards and extra space that come with owning a home.
Commercial real estate pros certainly know that the multi-family market remains hot across the Midwest. Whatever their reasons, Millennials are turning to renting more often than did other generations.
But where are these young renters living? Many of them are flocking to the urban hearts of cities across the country. And for those who want to stay in the Midwest, there are plenty of options.
Here is a look at four Midwest markets — and the high-end apartment projects in these cities — that are attracting young renters.
Of course Chicago had to top the list. This is the biggest city in the Midwest. And its downtown neighborhoods are filled with shops, restaurants, bars, parks and theaters. The public transportation system — despite the complaints of long-time residents — is a major bonus, too.
The new 73 East Lake apartments are a good example of the many high-end multi-family projects popping up across Chicago.
2. Minneapolis/St. Paul
Yes, it gets cold here. But the multi-famil market is sizzling. Why? The Twin Cities offers plenty of entertainment, eating and shopping options, but at far lower prices than you’ll find in Chicago. It helps, too, that the University of Minnesota boasts a downtown campus. The Downtown East mixed-use project, which will develop the neighborhood around the new Vikings stadium, promises to bring even more entertainment and shopping options to downtown.
Minneapolis is no slouch when it comes to high-quality apartment projects. The Nic on Fifth is a good example.
3. St. Louis
There’s more to St. Louis than its arch. Just ask the Millennials that are moving to the city’s downtown. St. Louis does face its own challenges. But the downtown is in the middle of a rebirth. Evidence of this? The Cortona at Forest Park, a still-new luxury apartment community. Residents here can enjoy all the amenities you’d expect in bigger urban markets.
4. Kansas City, Mo.
Yes, another top center for Millennials in Missouri. Kansas City has its own flavor, a different one than St. Louis boasts. But it has all the amenities — restaurants, major pro teams, shops, green space and night-life options — that young people want. Plus, it’s an affordable place to live. The Opus Group is almost ready to wrap construction on 51 Main, a new luxury apartment project in the city. The video below provides an interesting time-lapse view of the developer’s progress.