Florida millennials are moving back to the burbs
Neal developed Canoe Creek and nearby Silverleaf with an eye toward empty nesters and retirees. Some 44% of buyers have been Millennials. In a recent period at Canoe Creek, six buyers were under 24. “That’s a lot for that age group,” Frost says.
Arden runs the opposite from the urban-amenity theme. Developed by Freehold Communities, it sells itself as an “agrihood” with a working barn and a five-acre community farm. A third of buyers are Millennials. Arcieri and Santos — she’s a project manager for Cisco, and he’s a firefighter — moved to Florida from Raleigh, N.C. Santos is a Hialeah native. They landed first in suburb Wellington and rented. Arcieri was raised in the country and had to adjust to Southeast Florida; she and Santos agreed to “get away from the congestion of Miami- Dade and Broward,” Santos says.
A real estate friend of theirs posted a photo on Instagram of a Craftsmanstyle house at Arden unlike the stucco- Mediterraneans that are all but ubiquitous elsewhere in Southeast Florida. Arcieri says she immediately asked where that was. They purchased a 2,700-sq.-ft. Lennar home for $497,000. They say Arden’s zone schools are good, and it has land on site reserved for a future school. Every four weeks in harvest season, homeowners get a share of the community farm’s produce — chard, herbs, cucumbers and okra in a recent box. The suburban development also has resort-style split-level pool and a clubhouse, where 50 friends gathered for their baby shower.
For a share of Millennials, homeownership remains distant. A recent study from Apartment List reported that 10% of Millennial renters in Florida plan to “always rent,” with a majority of that group saying it’s all they can afford. Rob Warnock, Apartment List’s researcher, says Millennial homeownership is on the rise, though lagging previous generations, but the Millennial renters left behind are becoming less optimistic about their chances of owning a home.
Those in the market, however, have turned places such as Horizon West in west Orange County into hot spots for young families. Buyers of raw land are busy reloading to meet demand around Florida. Noah Breakstone, CEO of Fort Lauderdale-based developer BTI Partners, says his firm paid $40 million for 1,400 acres in Osceola County now approved for 5,000 homes and 2 million square feet of commercial space. He expects builders there to target Millennials and active adults.
For home buyers to get what they want, “they have to go farther out” than cities, says Matthew True, a Pulte North Florida division general sales manager. “Everybody’s looking for the best deal, and so are we when we’re looking for land,” True says.
“I wanted to be farther out,” says Arcieri, back in Arden. In November, the couple were decorating for Christmas and finishing a nursery for the baby that was due at the end of January. “We knew we wanted a house,” Arcieri says.
Says Santos, “Everybody here has young families.”
|City||Population Share||Millennials||Change v.2010|
|Port St. Lucie||17.1||30,653||7.9|