Florida millennials are moving back to the burbs
Millennial Hot Spots
- 19.2% — Percentage of Florida’s 21.3 million residents — roughly one in five — who are Millennials (20-34)
- 20.9% — Percentage of the U.S. population who are Millennials
- Florida communities with the highest percentage of Millennials tend to be college towns and areas around military bases. For example:
- 41.9% — Percentage of Gainesville’s population who are Millennials
- 39.0% — Percentage of Tallahassee’s population who are Millennials
- More than 46% — Millennial population of the area around Eglin Air Force Base in Northwest Florida
Source: UF Bureau of Economic and Business Research analysis of Census Bureau data
What Millennials Want
In retrospect, reports University of Michigan demographer William Frey, the back-to-the-city phenomenon was an aberration stemming from the Great Recession and a Millennial generation temporarily “stuck in place.”
The back-to-the-city trend also was oversold. Miami’s total downtown population, Florida’s largest, numbers 92,235. Though it’s grown faster since 2010 than the overall metro — 38% vs. 8% — its growth numbers remain a rounding error in a region with 6.1 million people. The same holds true of downtowns in other major Florida cities.
The Millennial surge has led builders to adjust designs to cater to Millennial interests. Millennials are said to focus on fitness — though spiking hypertension, unhealthy body weight and other maladies are hallmarks of the generation, too — so builders put in fitness centers, which are cheaper than clubhouses, and walking and cycling trails. Charles Santos, a fit firefighter, and Elyce Arcieri, a triathlete, fit the health-conscious Millennial trait. They met at a gym in North Carolina. Arden, the community where they live, advertises 20 miles of trails.
Builders say Millennials also want smart homes.
Additionally, like older buyers, research shows the overwhelming majority of Millennials are willing to pay for an environmentally friendly home only if extra costs are recouped by lower bills.
Builders report that the subset of Millennials they see has little problem qualifying for a mortgage, though some have student debt and perhaps get down payment help from family. Santos and Arcieri got over the down payment hump by living for a time with his family in suburban Broward to save money.
Read more in Florida Trend's February issue.
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