The Top 5 Cities Where Millennials Are Buying Homes Right Now

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Over the past year, we’ve been rethinking all aspects of our lives, including where we live. One recent survey found that nearly one in three Americans planned on moving from urban to suburban areas, citing a lower cost of living as their driving force. Suddenly, it seemed like we’d hit the Goldilocks era of homebuying, where popular-but-not-crazy-popular cities (like Boise, Knoxville and Sarasota) became the hottest places to buy. And that’s generally true, until you look at millennials specifically.

Those born between 1981 and 1996 are flocking to larger metropolitan areas, albeit ones that tend to be a bit more sprawling than, say, New York or San Francisco. The move makes sense: You can get a larger home for your money, yet you still have the job opportunities, culture and all-around hustle of a major city.

Mortgage company Better recently shared its data on the top five cities its millennial lenders (which comprised 65 percent of its funded loans in February) are buying in, and once you see this roundup, you might be convinced to start home searching there, too.

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cities for millennials chicago
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1. Chicago

Since 2017, Chicago’s population has been declining, according to the Chicago Tribune, but it’s still the largest city in the Midwest (and ahem, home to deep dish pizza and Italian beef sandwiches). That dip may be working in millennials’ favor, with the median price of homes roughly $9,000 less than the national average right now. As of March, home sales are up nearly 39 percent year over year, so if you’re interested in a move to the Windy City, you might want to act fast.

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cities for millennials houston
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2. Houston

Houston’s been steadily growing in popularity; the pandemic didn’t change that. Why? Well, it’s sunny most of the year (though, yes, it gets sweltering in the summer), has a solid job market and—here’s the drumbeat of this list—a lower cost of living than many major cities. Plus, there’s always the chance you could run into Brené Brown in the supermarket, bond over gluten-free banana bread recipes and become best friends. And that is a dream worth chasing.

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cities for millennials austin
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3. Austin

Austin is one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation, and its mix of tech jobs and things to do (both indoors and out) are proving to be a big draw for first-time homeowners. Where else can you wake up to breakfast tacos, go kayaking in the afternoon, then watch 1.3 million bats overtaking the skyline at sunset?

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cities for millennials atlanta
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4. Atlanta

While the cost of a home in ATL has crept up nearly 8 percent over the past year, it’s still $3,000 shy of the national average, according to Redfin. The city is a major transportation hub, and it’s home to several major brands, like Coca-Cola, UPS and Delta. Plus, when you need to escape the bustle of the downtown scene, you’re only a 20ish-minute drive from the countryside.

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cities for millennials charlotte
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5. Charlotte

In terms of affordability, Charlotte dominates this list, with the median home value clocking in at $320,000. You could buy a new Kia and still be under the median home value in the U.S.! But that’s far from the only draw: The city’s home to several breweries and vineyards, as well as the Carolina Panthers and Charlotte Motor Speedway. And, if those aren’t your scene, you’re a short drive to the beach, the lake or the mountains.

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Candace Davison

VP of editorial, recipe developer, kitsch-lover

Candace Davison oversees PureWow's food and home content, as well as its franchises, like the PureWow100 review series and the Happy Kid Awards. She’s covered all things lifestyle...
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