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Real Estate Trends

On the move: Millennials rock real estate world with desire for urban living, smaller spaces

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young couple moving into a new house with boxes no faces
Millennials are entering the buying sector of the real estate market. ihmoneysmarts.org
National Association of Real Estate Editors conference Hugh F. Kelly June 2014
Hugh F. Kelly delivers the opening address at the National Association of Real Estate Editors Conference. Photo by Barbara Kuntz
National Association of Real Estate Editors conference sign-in table June 2014
About 250 real estate editors from across the country are expected to attend. Photo by Barbara Kuntz
young couple moving into a new house with boxes no faces
National Association of Real Estate Editors conference Hugh F. Kelly June 2014
National Association of Real Estate Editors conference sign-in table June 2014

Millennials, the generation born after 1980, are bringing changes to the real estate scene with strong preferences for urban living and working, yet with financial woes of a trillion dollar student loan debt — and it's happening right now in our own back yard.

"Houston, Dallas and Austin are some of the big centers of Millennials," said Hugh F. Kelly, chair of The Counselors of Real Estate, in the opening speech to attendees at the National Association of Real Estate Editors annual conference at the Westin Oaks hotel, addressing the counselors' annual top 10 list of issues affecting real estate. "They were the first to fully embrace new technology. And now they make up 27 percent of the U.S. adult population."

  Millennials value mass transit and "work, live, play" communities where residents of all ages, ethnicities and income brackets live side-by-side. 

The Counselors of Real Estate is a Chicago-based invitation-only association for expert real estate advisors.

Kelly pointed out the unemployment rate for Millennials is 9.1 percent, and median incomes range from $25,000 to $45,000 on the high end. He said the generation is choosing smaller living spaces than the typical homes in the suburbs that appealed to their parents. Millennials value mass transit and "work, live, play" communities where residents of all ages, ethnicities and income brackets live side-by-side.

Kelly also mentioned energy, jobs, health care, agriculture and even water as other far-reaching impacts on real estate both near- and long-term. For example, he offered, Las Vegas' Lake Meade, which supplies 100 percent of the city's water needs, is projected to have a 50 percent chance of drying out by 2025. Aging water infrastructures and drought, particularly in Texas and the southwest, are also concerns for real estate.

Other topics on the top 10 list are globalization, capital markets, housing and manufacturing.

The 48th annual conference runs through Saturday and concludes with a bus tour of the new Exxon Mobil corporate campus in The Woodlands. More than 250 real estate journalists from across the country are expected to attend during the four days of presentations, workshops and panel discussions, said Ralph Bivins, conference chair and editor of Realty News Report.

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