Denver Remains a Top Destination for Millennials, but a Shortage of Affordable Homes Could Make it Harder to Keep Them
Denver remains a magnet for millennials, but a lack of affordable homes could prevent many of them from sticking around for the long haul.
Out of 100 metros examined, Denver continues to rank in the top 10 for its ability to attract and retain millennials, the generation born between 1980 and 1998, according to a study from the National Association of REALTORS®.
But the rate at which young adults, especially the new arrivals, can purchase a home given the wages available to them is among the lowest in the country, according to a study from the National Association of REALTORS®.
“The Denver area is very attractive to millennials, but Denver faces affordability challenges,” said Nadia Evangelou, a research economist at NAR. “Only 10 percent of recent millennial movers bought a home in the area.”
Across the 100 metros that NAR studied, millennials pulled down a median wage of $55,609, but in Denver they earned closer to $69,300. But metro Denver’s advantage is much smaller for those for those relocating here, with a median wage of $55,600 versus $52,765 nationally.
Metro Denver’s problem is that housing supply hasn’t kept up with all the new people who have moved here, pushing up home prices at some of the highest rates in the country and far ahead of gains in income.
Millennials moving here earn a median income that is high enough to afford only 6 percent of the homes that were listed in March, according to the NAR. Only Seattle, at 5 percent affordability, ranked worse among the hot spots.
“Younger and older millennials have a strong desire to own a home. They pick areas where they can stay and raise a family. They need to establish themselves somewhere,” Evangelou said.
An abundance of good jobs paying a good wage, not to mention having lots of other young people to hang out with, are important to young adults on the move, she said. But the ability to buy a home and raise a family are what, in the end, bond them to a place.
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