The stereotype of hipster millennials living in downtown high-rise condos is mostly wrong, a new survey finds.
Most millennials — 63 percent — live in suburbs or more affordable urban areas outside of downtowns, and one in five are living back with Mom or Dad, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Urban Land Institute.
Thirteen percent live in or near downtowns, according to the study based on a November 2014 nationwide survey of 1,270 people ages 19 to 36. That age group, called millennials or Gen Y, is the largest-ever generation in U.S. history, surpassing the Baby Boomers with nearly 79 million people.
Many millennials said they are sharing homes out of financial necessity, and some are crowded. Eighteen percent reported having roommates, though 58 percent of those said they would prefer to live alone. Fourteen percent live in homes with three generations of family.
Though they are living wherever they can afford, the report found, millennials “remain steadfast” in their preference for an urban lifestyle. While 83 percent said they own a car, many said they preferred walkable communities, different options for getting around and easy access to shopping and entertainment.
“Gen Yers want to live where it’s easy to have fun with friends and family, whether in the suburbs or closer in,” said Leanne Lachman, one of the report writers.
The collapse of the housing market that millennials witnessed also is having an impact, the study found. Of the 26 percent who said they owned their home, 46 percent said they bought it as a good investment, while 41 percent said they bought for “stability.” Forty percent said they wanted more privacy and space.
Those figures suggest that millennials don’t “necessarily equate owning a home with being financially savvy,” the report said.
Of those who rented, 38 percent lived in single-family homes, reflecting the impact of the Great Recession leaving behind so many foreclosed houses that investors bought and are now renting out, the report said.
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