2017 study highlights home-buying preferences

6 out of 10 millenials prefer walkable communities, short commute

MARQUETTE — Identifying their preferences for the type of home and neighborhood to live in are typically among the first things potential homebuyers do.

Debating between the convenience of a short commute versus the spaciousness of suburban living can be challenging when deciding upon the right home.

“In the home-buying process, understanding the preferred characteristics of a neighborhood can be as important as those of a home,” Pam Caron, president of the Upper Peninsula Association of Realtors, said in a press release. “Whether it’s a suburban single-family home with more schooling options for children or a townhouse in the city with better access to public transit, Realtors — members of the National Association of Realtors — can help homebuyers identify the communities that best serve their preferences and needs.”

The National Association of Realtors’ 2017 National Community and Transportation Preferences Survey polled adults from across the U.S. about what they are looking for in a community. It found that young buyers continue to view their dream neighborhood as a walkable, mixed-use community. In fact, according to the survey, six out of 10 millennials prefer walkable communities and short commutes, even if it means sacrificing living in a larger home with space to stretch their legs.

“It is not surprising that younger buyers prefer the convenience of a neighborhood close to work and enjoy living near amenities like restaurants and retail,” Caron said. “Real estate professionals continue to see a trend in millennials moving to areas where they don’t have to be in bumper-to-bumper traffic and can get around during their free time with little stress.”

However, millennials are not the only generation of homebuyers who prefer walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods, the release states. Members of the silent generation, those born before 1944, also prefer smaller homes in neighborhoods with easy walks to shops and restaurants. Over 50 percent of the silent generation prefer walkable communities and short commutes, even if it means living in an apartment or townhouse, according to the release.

Gen-Xers and baby boomers show a preference toward suburban living, with 55 percent of both groups saying that they are comfortable with a longer commute and driving to amenities if it means living in a single-family, detached home.

Homebuyers with children tend to shift their priorities when their kids get older. According to the report, six out of 10 millennials with kids in school characterize the ideal neighborhood as more of a conventional suburban area with homes containing more square feet and larger backyards.