Council Director of Policy & Government Affairs Presents on “Millennials and the Future of the Housing Market: A Critical Period for Growth”


On Tuesday, January 20th, Council Policy & Government Affairs Director James Touchton presented at United Consulting, as part of a monthly lecture series hosted by United on the millennial housing trends around the nation and region-wide.   As part of his presentation, Mr. Touchton stressed that this was just one option to consider when re-developing areas around Georgia, and that the presentation was meant as a way to further the discussion about one of many viable residential options within the industry.

The premise of his speech is that millennials, America’s largest generation, are entering their thirties, the traditional home-buying age. He stressed that dialogue amongst the industry, elected officials, policy-makers and those within the community was needed, in order to better understand the needs of a new generation and what influences these millennials and future generations.

Some key highlights included:

  1. Millennial’s Experiences and How they Influence the Housing Market
  2. What Millennials Want from the Industry
  3. How Multi-Family Housing Units can Meet Millennials Demands while Positively Affecting the Georgia Economy

Mr. Touchton emphasized that Millennials are shaping the future of housing, and here’s why:

  1. They are delaying homeownership: Though college-educated millennials will soon be entering their peak earning years – which has historically equated to the years of peak housing consumption – many are choosing more flexible lifestyles rather than being tied down to a mortgage that they can’t quickly get out of, at least for now.
  2. They are delaying marriage: The median age for a first marriage increased by six years from 1960 to 2011 (from 23 to 29 for men and 20 to 26 for women), according to Census data. And the recession has pushed marriage back even further for many who want to first be financially stable.
  3. But homeownership is still a long-term goal: A 2014 Redfin survey conducted by Harris Poll found that 92% of people in this age group who don’t have a home want to buy one in the future, said Nela Richardson, the real-estate company’s chief economist. But even as some millennial renters transition to homeownership, they are seeking out homes in places that are more like the urban areas in which they once rented.

He covered the types of amenities Millennials are looking for when choosing homes, which multi-family housing units offer, such as:

  1. Access to public transportation/walkability: Great transit is poised to become a prime factor in determining real estate value.
  2. Multipurpose space: A recent survey of 1,000 18-35 year olds conducted for Better Homes and Garden Real Estate found that 77 percent preferred an “essential” home over a “luxury” model. They more often want a modern home with cost- and energy-efficient designs that better reflect how they live comfortably. This generation prefers multipurpose spaces over, for example, traditional dining rooms that are reserved for formal holiday gatherings.
  3. Home offices: Millennials’ work routines also impact their housing choices. Many are used to being able to – or needing to – work remotely. This is due to today’s more global, more connected workforce.

Mr. Touchton concluded by sharing some of the popular recent developments around our region that give us an idea of what millennials are looking for, including:

  1. West Village, a 50-acre live/work/play community in Vinings that includes a retail village, for-lease condominiums and town homes, and for-sale single-family homes, townhomes, and condominiums. The property includes miles of walking trails that connect to the Silver Comet Trail and allows for walkability in the Smyrna-Vinings area.
  2. Avalon, North American Properties’ recently 86-acre development with 500,000 square feet of retail, 800 single-family homes, office space and apartments. It’s been called “Alpharetta’s answer to Atlantic Station.” Avalon was designed with a particular demographic and experience in mind. It’s a beautiful walkable community with retail and restaurants including Whole Foods, Anthropolgie, Banana Republic, Lulemon, and also a 12-screen cinema, a hotel, spas, gyms, salons, and other amenities.
  3. Woodstock West by Walton in downtown Woodstock is another great example of creating communities that cater to millennials. The large complex offers access to the walkable Main Street Woodstock community and in-demand Woodstock schools. The luxury apartments offer abundant green space, bike trailers, a fitness center and private studio.

If you would like to view James Touchton’s full power point presentation on how millennials are impacting the housing market, and how multi-family housing can solve meet their needs Click HERE. This presentation will be updated as we continue to research the best housing policy options for the Georgia economy.