At home with sustainability

Millennial first-time house hunters are gathering
in cities that offer more green living

Millennial first-time house hunters
are gathering in cities that offer
more green living

Photo credit: Caroline Ghetes

Zasób 2

Going green

Going green

Joshua Glick and Kelly Glick met the way millennials do—online. They met in person for the first time at a sushi restaurant in Chicago, where Joshua pulled no punches.

“On our first date I let her know my interest in moving to the West Coast,” Joshua said. “I wanted to see how she felt about that. Fortunately for me, she didn’t end the date right there.”

After a year and a half, it became apparent that, like a lot of people their age, Joshua and Kelly shared an interest in environmental sustainability and locally-sourced products. They wanted to live a little more simply, with less stuff. So, they moved to Seattle and got jobs—Josh as a copywriter at an ad agency, Kelly as a school psychologist. Eventually, they started thinking about buying a house.

Joshua, 32, and Kelly, 31, reflect a nationwide trend as millennials enter the home-buying market. Cities that offer cleaner, simpler, more sustainable lifestyles are attracting young, first-time home buyers. Their interest in locally-made and locally-sourced products extends to their homes.

Few cities better illustrate this trend than Seattle, a booming tech center surrounded by crystal clear lakes, rivers, the Pacific Ocean and tree-lined mountains. Seattle promotes the Built Green® certification for residential housing, which encourages builders to install Energy Star®-rated appliances and lighting, low-flow toilets and shower heads and use non-toxic interior finishes.

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Our views align largely with the views that many people in this region have about sustainability.— Joshua Glick

After a year and a half, it became apparent that, like a lot of people their age, Joshua and Kelly shared an interest in environmental sustainability and locally-sourced products. They wanted to live a little more simply, with less stuff. So, they moved to Seattle and got jobs—Josh as a copywriter at an ad agency, Kelly as a school psychologist. Eventually, they started thinking about buying a house.

Joshua, 32, and Kelly, 31, reflect a nationwide trend as millennials enter the home-buying market. Cities that offer cleaner, simpler, more sustainable lifestyles are attracting young, first-time home buyers. Their interest in locally-made and locally-sourced products extends to their homes.

Few cities better illustrate this trend than Seattle, a booming tech center surrounded by crystal clear lakes, rivers, the Pacific Ocean and tree-lined mountains. Seattle promotes the Built Green® certification for residential housing, which encourages builders to install Energy Star®-rated appliances and lighting, low-flow toilets and shower heads and use non-toxic interior finishes.

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In a city surrounded by forest, it’s not uncommon for real estate agents to know the origins of wood used in a house’s framework or accents. Buyers are paying premiums for green-building credentials.

“Our views align largely with the views that many people in this region have about sustainability,” Joshua said. “It was a region Kelly also could see the value in becoming a part of.”

For Kelly, the Pacific Northwest’s environmentally-conscious ethos fed into her interests. “At first, I think Josh was more into the sustainability piece,” Kelly said. “What was important to me was the healthy attitude toward food and cooking.”

When she was young, Kelly’s father owned a caramel apple company. She remembers her father going to the markets where he bought apples for the company and food for their table. “He got the freshest stuff before it went to the grocery store. He knew which farms it came from,” Kelly said. That stuck with her.

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Joshua grew up on Mercer Island, a Seattle suburb, so when the couple decided to jump into Seattle’s skyrocketing real estate market, he called on an old friend with whom he still played tennis, Chad Dierickx, a real estate agent with Windermere Real Estate in Mercer Island, and a Realtor®—a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Chad met Josh and Kelly at The Beer Junction, a local brewery. Seattle has more breweries than any city in the country—another thing that makes millennials feel at home.

“A big part of my job with people like Josh and Kelly is to help them think through all the in-between questions you have when you’re looking at a house. How long will it meet your needs? How much will it cost to make it move-in ready? What would happen if you got pregnant and your family makeup changed?” Dierickx said.

Dierickx knew that an elementary school in West Seattle, near where Joshua and Kelly rented, had recently recruited a bunch of good teachers from other districts, something that would bode well when the couple decided to start their family—and for their investment. Dierickx helped them find a house in that school district with two upstairs bedrooms, a cozy breakfast nook off the kitchen and lots of usable space.

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Now Joshua rides his bike to work. He’s thinking of putting solar panels on the roof of the new house. He and Kelly are close to Lincoln Park, an incredibly green space with a winding trail network and waterfront.

They’re also close to a locally-sourced, always-open organic produce stand. “People there must think I’m crazy,” Kelly said. “I’m in there every other day, picking up fresh produce just because I can.”

People come from everywhere with these shared values. That makes a very good sense of community in West Seattle.— Kelly Glick

Now Joshua rides his bike to work. He’s thinking of putting solar panels on the roof of the new house. He and Kelly are close to Lincoln Park, an incredibly green space with a winding trail network and waterfront.

They’re also close to a locally-sourced, always-open organic produce stand. “People there must think I’m crazy,” Kelly said. “I’m in there every other day, picking up fresh produce just because I can.”

They’re also growing their own produce in their backyard garden: raspberries, strawberries, kale, zucchini, tomatillos, peas and garlic. Their friends have been helping them learn to garden.

“People in Seattle joke about so many new people moving here, but that’s what’s special about it,” said Kelly. “People come from everywhere with these shared values. That makes for a very welcoming sense of community in West Seattle.”

They’re also growing their own produce in their backyard garden: raspberries, strawberries, kale, zucchini, tomatillos, peas and garlic. Their friends have been helping them learn to garden.

“People in Seattle joke about so many new people coming in, but that’s what’s kind of cool about it,” said Kelly. “People come from everywhere with these shared values. That makes a very good sense of community in West Seattle.”

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