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Millennials Sticking With The Big City

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis May 15, 2014 11:24 AM

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I haven't been sold on the idea that today's Millennial hipsters are true, lifelong city dwellers.

Sure, it is fun to live in the big-city when you are single and a tiny apartment seems like a palace, but just wait until marriage and kids come along. Then comes the move out to the suburbs where there's space for a yard and relatively functional school systems, or so the argument goes.

But new research by a University of Virginia professor is challenging that traditionalist view. (Thanks to Shelterforce, an online mag put out by the National Housing Institute, where I spotted this.)

At least in the urban areas of Virginia, including the metro D.C. market, Millennials are staying put after the start having kids, sending enrollments soaring in urban school districts.

The big dividing line appears to have been the Great Recession.

Arlington County has seen a 25 percent increase in first-grade enrollments compared to 2005, before the real estate bubble popped, the UVA report finds.

OK, hipster talk aside, basic economic forces are behind this change, argues Hamilton Lombard, the UVA demographer who did the research.

Today, many parents are staying put in urban areas, thanks to stricter mortgage regulations that make it hard for buyers to get a loan, and a difficult labor market that makes it hard for anyone to be sure of a job.

Are you a city lifer? Planning on moving to the suburbs at some point?

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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