Millennials On The Move


The US High-end housing market is seeing an influx of millennials, after so long on the sidelines, this population cohort is now making up for lost time

The median price of a single-family home in Portland, Ore., reached $502,000 last year, a year-over-year increase of 15 percent in a property market that ranks as one of the hottest in the country.

The millennial generation — born from 1981 to 1996 — had long been slow to embrace homeownership, studies showed, with many younger Americans in their mid-20s to late 30s reluctant or unable to buy a home.

But after years of waiting on the side-lines, this generation is now pouring into homeownership at a record pace, accounting for the largest share of all home buyers in the United States in 2020, 37 percent, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). And now that they have surpassed the baby boomers to become the largest living adult generation in the United States, housing experts predict demand will remain strong for years to come.

While their impact is being felt across all sectors of the housing market, it’s more pronounced at the higher end, brokers say, with millennial buying power fuelling rising home prices in some of the country’s priciest property markets.

Tech-heavy locations from Boston to Seattle, with a growing population of high-earning, educated younger professionals, are seeing the most activity. But real estate professionals in more affordable metro areas such as Nashville, Orlando and Providence, R.I., are also seeing an influx of affluent younger buyers pushing up housing prices amid dwindling supply.

In D.C., where the median price of a house or condo that sold last November reached an all-time high of $725,000, according to the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors, younger buyers are fuelling much of the sales activity, says Christie-Anne Weiss, senior vice president and associate broker at TTR Sotheby’s International Real Estate.

She says her team, which sells luxury homes in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, had 21 clients close contracts on home purchases last year, up from four in 2020. Sales prices from these clients ranged from about $400,000 to about $3 million, Weiss continues.

Though much of that sales activity occurred in the popular Capitol Hill, 14th Street corridor and Georgetown districts, Weiss says tight housing inventory in D.C. also pushed buyers into affluent areas of Maryland and Virginia.

“We’ve never really seen this kind of impact from younger buyers before,” says Weiss, who has been selling real estate in the region for more than 30 years. “The sheer number of clients in their 20s and 30s looking to buy homes is making this market much more competitive, especially at the middle and higher end.”

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