College Connect: Millennials and urban living

Posted By David Wilhite

By Katherine Sauceda

Recent studies by the U.S. Census Bureau show more millennials are choosing to live in major cities after graduating college rather than suburban areas. These educated millennials’ population in cities has grown by up to 78 percent within the past few years, according to a Forbes report.

Lexus Marion, a third year marketing major student at the University of Georgia, says she plans on making that move too when she graduates but is not confident on how to exactly do it. She has a job lined up at Nordstrom’s corporate offices in Seattle, and wants to know the best way of transitioning from a small college town to a major city. College Connect turned to Velma Zahirovic-Herbert, an associate professor at UGA, for answers. Her research includes urban housing markets and housing policies.

Q: First of all, why are millennials so attracted to cities?

A: Cities are attractive to young people because they see it as “consumer cities,” meaning they can consume/enjoy the amenities the city has to offer. Research shows that young people look for places filled with things they enjoy: places to exercise, places to eat, and places for entertainment. Cities provide that and shorter commutes to work.

Q: What are some ways to make this move easier for millennials?

A: Since cities tend to be more expensive, there is very limited affordable housing, so look for roommates. That decreases the costs of living. Some have gone a different way. City councils have seen the demand for smaller or “tiny” dwellings and are responding to it. If it is appealing to you, living in a smaller living space is an option. Cities provide dwellers with easy access to public transportation. For example, in Atlanta, they have the MARTA. Live near transportation. It will cut the cost of gas, and you won’t have to worry about parking.

Q: Recent studies by Goldman Sachs, a multinational finance company, show millennials are more likely to be renters. How can they be savvy renters?

A: Renting provides more financial freedom and convenience. You can put in a maintenance request and within the next days it’s fixed. But when you venture into something like renting, you have to use common sense. Read the contract! Read the contract! Read the contract! When you get into these leases, you have to understand what you are signing for. Make sure you know the policies outlined in them, right down to how to break the lease. I cannot think of anything more important than for millennials to know than their leasing contracts.

Q: Are there any impacts millennials should be aware of when making the move to the city?

A: There is a cliché when it comes to millennials. They move to cities and create these diverse communities that demand amenities. Gentrification is inevitable. With these moves, there is an increase in property values. What happens when the property values increase? Rents go up and that makes it harder for current residents to keep living there. This leads to current, older residents being pushed out.

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