Moving Back To Their Childhood City
Ahwatukee residents Nina and DJ Riley were not necessarily looking to move back to their childhood city after graduating from Arizona State University, starting careers and getting married, but it just happened. [Submitted photo]
Fifty or 60 years ago the expectation was that you find a spouse, get married, buy a home and have a nice, happy family built before you were 30. As a result, the stereotypical homebuyer was likely following that particular life path. Back then; if you were not married, you probably lived with your parents.
Oh, how times have changed. The suburbs used to be full of white-picket families with two and a half children. But there has been a shift. And in the words of Amanda Ventura, an account manager at Evolve Public Relations and Marketing, “Move over, soccer moms! Suburbia has new neighbors!”
Who are those new neighbors? you may ask. Well, according to rising Ahwatukee real estate agent Mike D’Elena, the average buyer is “young,” college educated, in a career and looking to settle down; they might not be married yet, and they may not even be looking for kids. The new neighbors on the block are from that generation baby boomers often frown upon — but they’re 30, thriving and all grown up: the millennials.
Millennials are officially “outpacing” baby boomers in Valley suburbs as far as new home purchases are concerned. A study also found that millennials presence in urban areas is actually decreasing to 17 percent down from 21 percent last year.
Seventy-eight percent of homeowners from the baby booming era actually have no intention of moving anytime soon. Their willingness to stay put could be due to the financial damage almost everyone endured nearly a decade ago when the market crashed. On the other hand, some real estate agents are seeing an increase in baby boomers actually wanted to live in previously millennial-only urban areas. With a majority of the baby boomers exceeding 50 years of age, and some being as old as 70, their kids have all moved out and the parents (and grandparents) want to be by the action.
D’Elenas finds the flip-flop in a stereotypical homebuyer a little humorous: “These older people want to do what people in their 20s want to do. They want to walk everywhere, and be close to everything. It’s a kind of weird, the roles have switched a little bit.”
Simultaneously D’Elenas totally understands the adjustment.
“Really, millennials are just getting older. The things like schools, and being in a safe area, and getting a little more bang for your buck in terms of what you can buy is a little more important now,” he said.
D’Elena helped two recently married millennials buy a home right here in Ahwatukee. Nina and DJ Riley were not necessarily looking to move back to their childhood city after graduating from Arizona State University, starting careers and getting married, but it just happened.
“It’s super safe, it’s super quiet, and we’re still super close to stuff,” said Nina. “At a certain point, as a millennial, you realize slowing down is a good thing…you don’t always need to be in the middle of the action.”
The couple bought a home built in the ’80s, came in, and totally gutted the place. Nina and DJ took the opportunity to take advantage of some gained equity on their last house to renovate their new house, ditching the dark, drab color scheme for a lighter palate of grays and creams.
D’Elena recognizes that as a trend as well: millennials are picky. They are looking to buy two types of homes: a bargain to completely renovate, or a top-of-the-line, perfectly complete home. Nobody is really “settling” for anything in between anymore.
After speaking with both D’Elena and Nina, it can be concluded that all of those new house improvement television shows may not be to blame for the millennials’ urge to renovate, but they have certainly altered general perceptions of home owning. Looks like millennials are now preferring higher quality, more modern, safer and more cost effective homes in Valley suburbs.
• Kendra Penningroth is a freshman at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. She is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News.
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