Dayton Ranked As One of the Best Cities for Millennial Home Buyers

The Ohio city came in at number 4 in a recent report

dayton skyline


Bridget Houlihan


Jan 21, 2021

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Man working in a restaurant with a cup of tea or coffee
Image courtesy of Bruce Mars.

Many people desire to own their own home, and it has long been considered an essential part of the American dream. Historically, when people are ready to settle down and can rely on a steady job, they start to look for a home where they can put down roots. However, recently this has not been the case, and no generation has felt that more than Millennials. This generation came of age during the 2008 housing crisis, and is the most indebted generation due to large student loans.

These factors, among others, are the reason for the delay in home purchases for Millennials. However, this appears to be changing as a new report from Clever Real Estate shows. Millennials are starting to gain buying power, and their unique situation is attracting them to a different type of housing market-- ones not typically associated with high demand, including Dayton, OH.

In this article we’ll examine what Millennial homebuyers are looking for when they purchase a property and why the Dayton housing market is particularly well-equipped to meet their home-buying needs.

Millennials Are Gaining Buying Power

Obscure tech art
Millennials have become the largest group of real estate buyers, consisting of 36% of all buyers.

Over 84% of the Millennial generation consider buying a home an essential part of the American dream. For many, high levels of student debt, lack of well-paying jobs, and the lingering effects of the 2008 housing crisis-- and subsequent recession-- have prevented them from purchasing a home. This is not only due to their significant lack of savings as a result of these factors, but also a reluctance to invest in property. After witnessing the effects of the housing crisis, renting may have seemed like the better and safer alternative at the time. However, the pendulum seems to be swinging in the other direction now, and many Millennials are starting to feel confident enough in their savings to consider purchasing their first home.

Millennials are now the biggest driving force in the real estate market today, with 36% of all home buyers coming from this age group. This is not to say, however, that all markets in the U.S. are available to this set of homebuyers. Higher priced markets such as New York, Seattle, and San Francisco are almost non-starters for Millennials, due to extremely high housing prices and cost of living expenses. This doesn’t mean that home buying is out of the question for this debt laden generation though, there are plenty of other markets that are affordable and can offer a great deal of the kinds of amenities that Millennials are looking for.

So, What Are Millennials Looking For?

A group on young professionals working together
Image courtesy of Fox.

Although many Millennials spent the earlier parts of the lives renting in urban areas-- maybe even in high priced market-- when it comes to buying, they’re looking for something else entirely. It is important to many Millennials to have access to community amenities, have cultural options, good school districts, and well-paying jobs. Larger cities may offer exciting entertainment options, but they are not a viable option for Millennial home buyers.

The Clever Real Estate report looked at four key factors when considering what cities in the United States would be most desirable for Millennials to live in. They examined 100 of the most populated cities and ranked them according to four factors, giving more weight to livability and home affordability.

  • Job Opportunities. This is an important factor for Millennials as they are more likely to be college educated and carrying debt. They need a job that pays enough so that they can make monthly loan payments, as well as afford a mortgage. Each city was considered according to income, wage growth, and unemployment.
  • Home Affordability. Millennials cannot afford homes in high priced markets, so cities that offer median home costs below the national average is an important factor. This measurement compares the price to income ratio.
  • Livability. Some cities are more likely to attract Millennials because they can offer factors that they care about, such as commute time, crime rate, and education levels. It is also a measure of the quality of life and amenities Millennials find attractive.
  • Housing Market Forecast. This was considered because it is a measure of how home values will appreciate in the next 12 months. This is important to know when purchasing your first house.
Visit HER, REALTORS® properties for a perfect fit.

The results of this analysis ranked Rochester, NY, Des Moines, IA, Omaha, NE, Dayton, OH, and Grand Rapids, MI in the top five positions. It is interesting to note that the top five cities for Millennials are all located in the midwest with the exception of Rochester, NY-- and four Ohio cities are included in the top ten. The cities on this list all offer affordable housing markets, with competitive job markets as well-- these are extremely important factors for Millennials to consider when purchasing a home, as real estate is one of the largest investments they will likely make.

Dayton ranks 4th in the list of best cities for Millennials to purchase a home. Image courtesy of Clever Real Estate.

While many cities in the west and northeast have very good job markets, their housing prices are simply out of reach for Millennials. Other cities that scored poorly did so because of long commute times, higher crime rates, and bad air quality. Millennials who are interested in purchasing real estate are concerned with these factors, and are more willing to consider alternative cities that can meet these requirements.

All the cities on this list have median home prices that are below the national average of $226,800 and median household incomes are high enough to support payment of a mortgage in each market. While these cities may not be considered a destination for home buyers, Millennials should take a second look at them if they are interested in making a good real estate investment.

How Does Dayton Compare?

Ohio has four cities that make this list, which indicates it is a great time for Millennials to buy real estate. But the city closest to the top is Dayton, and there are many reasons why Millennials would feel right at home in this midwestern city. It is an extremely livable-- and affordable-- city that offers some attractions and amenities that Millennials are especially interested in.

Museums in Dayton

Dayton has much to offer Millennials, including affordable housing, good jobs, and many fun things to do. Image courtesy of the United States Air Force Museum.

Dayton is the birthplace of the Wright Brothers, who were responsible for the design, development, and testing of the world’s first airplane. There is a Wright Brothers National  Museum, as well as the historic Wright Family Home, which was where the dream of the airplane come to life. In fact, there is a lot of aviation history in the Dayton area, including the National Air Force Museum as well-- which is due to Dayton’s proximity to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

In addition to aviation museums and monuments, Dayton is also home to the Dayton Art Institute and the International Peace Museum. These museums offer residents a chance to see a wide variety of art exhibits from many time periods, as well as learn about historical and current international peacemaking

Parks in Dayton

Ohio bald eagle perched in a tree
Catch the Bald Eagle at Five Rivers MetroParks. Image courtesy of Metro Parks.

Sometimes it’s nice to get away from the city, but it’s even better when there are green areas that are easily accessible right in the city. Dayton has a wonderful parks system, which are all located close within the metro area. The Five Rivers MetroParks offers Dayton residents the chance to get outdoors and explore, without having to go too far. There are conservation areas to explore and learn about local habitats and wildlife, as well as an abundance of hiking options and water trails for boating. Dayton has been awarded a bronze level in bicycle friendliness, with many trails and traffic lanes ready for bikers.

There are plenty of options to get out an explore, but these parks are also the perfect place to just sit back and unwind after a long week. Residents flock to the green places for picnics and get togethers with families and friends.

A snow covered river ground during a winter in Springfield.
Five Rivers MetroParks in a Winter Wonderland.

Culture in Dayton

Not to be outdone by larger cities, Dayton offers cultural attractions of its own. The Dayton Ballet has been giving performances for over 80 years, and is a great option for weekend entertainment. There is also the Dayton Philharmonic and the Dayton Opera to help round out the variety of options for residents and visitors alike. All of these cultural amenities put on steller shows and are very popular.

Dayton has much to offer Millennials-- housing prices are low, the job market is robust, and attractions such as museums, parks, music, and dance all contribute to the high quality of life this Ohio city can offer. There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a place to invest in real estate, but as this recent report shows, Dayton stands out as one of the best cities for Millennials.

The Millennial generation has delayed purchasing homes for a variety of reasons unique to their generation. However, this trend is starting to change. New markets are emerging that are well suited to meet the demands of Millennial homebuyers. It seems that at last, the dream of owning a home is no longer out of reach for this generation.

December 25, 2019
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