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Why these 4 states are becoming housing hotspots for younger generations

Posted by AMH Team

6m read time

Jul 2, 2024

A GOBankingRates study found that younger generations are moving to certain states with greater frequency than usual. For them, Georgia, Nevada, Ohio, and Tennessee are all becoming appealing destinations. Though each state provides unique experiences for its residents, there are some underlying trends as to why Millennials and Gen Z are flocking to these four spots.

 

They address a need in the housing market

 

The U.S. housing market slowed a bit at the end of 2022, but the course correction in pricing that many expected hasn’t come to fruition. In fact, the National Association of Realtors reported a 4.8% jump in median-existing home prices in March.

 

That’s nine months in a row prices have increased year-over-year. Wages haven’t grown at the same rate, noted NAR’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun.

 

“Any time home prices outpace people’s incomes, that is not good,” he said. “The result is a squeeze on first-time buyers.”

 

Several factors have led to the lack of homes available for purchase, including rising materials costs, supply chain issues, and even lingering effects of the Great Recession. High mortgage rates are another recurring theme, causing sellers to stay put and buyers to have limited options.

 

These issues combine to form a startling truth, per Bankrate: The typical U.S. household could afford only 15.5% of available homes in 2023.

 

And it’s expected that renting will remain a more affordable option for years to come.

 

In Tennessee’s Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin metro, for example, it’s $1,366 or 84.4% less expensive to rent per month compared to buying. In Columbus, renters save an average of $902 monthly, a 76.4% difference.

 

According to Realtor.com, median rents for starter units with up to 2 bedrooms have also declined by nearly 6% in the Atlanta metro area and over 4% in the Las Vegas metro area since last year.

 

While demand is still far outpacing supply, Georgia, Nevada, Ohio, and Tennessee are proving to be resilient, doing their part to create housing options for their residents.  

 

There are plenty of appealing jobs

 

The pandemic turned the traditional workplace upside down. While some companies have enforced return-to-the-office policies, many others have adopted fully remote or hybrid setups. This shift is beneficial for workers, too: 58% of white-collar workers prefer to work remotely three days a week or more, and only 16% would consider a role that doesn’t offer any remote work at all.

 

Nevada is ranked number one in job growth by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the strongest compound annual growth rate of jobs over the past three years. Georgia is among the top 20.

 

Remote work opportunities abound, too. In Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee, and Nevada, about 1 in 4 workers has at least one day of remote work a week. The demand for this remote work isn’t going away, particularly in fields like computer and IT, marketing, accounting and finance, and project management.

 

Freelancing is also gaining steam. Upwork’s Freelance Forward survey found that it hit a new high last year, with 64 million Americans earning money from freelancing. That’s a total of 38% of the U.S. workforce and a whopping 1,500% increase from 2022.

 

Younger professionals are embracing freelancing more than previous generations: 52% of Gen Z and 44% of Millennials performed freelance work in 2023. And they’re thinking positively, with 85% of freelancers saying their best days are ahead.  

 

In many cases, these freelancers can choose where they live, and they’re looking at states that give them a variety of activities.    

 

They offer rich cultural experiences

 

Of course, even if you love your home, you still want to get out and about. These states provide ample things to do—here’s a look at a few highlights in each:

 

Georgia

 

Atlanta has a plethora of sports and entertainment draws. The city’s aquarium is among the nation’s best, while Centennial Olympic Park is great for walking and running. The Braves won the World Series in 2021, and the Hawks have the No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA Draft.

 

Providence Canyon State Park provides stunning natural views, Bonaventure Cemetery is a beautiful memorial, and the Cathedral Basilica of St. John is an impressive work of architecture.

 

Georgia also has an extensive history. The Martin Luther King Jr. Trail and Native American Heritage Tour are fascinating looks back in time.

 

Nevada

 

Las Vegas is Nevada’s most publicized city due to its glitz and glamour, but if you’re not into gambling, there’s quite a bit to do across the state.

 

The state’s beauty is stunning. The Valley of Fire is Nevada’s oldest and largest state park, including Native American petroglyphs from over 3,000 years ago. Red Rock Canyon provides 13 miles of colorful rock formations and scenic hiking trails. The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens and the Bellagio Fountains, both located in the Bellagio Hotel, feel like pleasant oases among the hustle and bustle of the strip. On the Arizona border, the Hoover Dam offers impressive views alongside Lake Mead.

 

Las Vegas is becoming a sporting mecca, too. The Oakland Athletics will move to Las Vegas in 2028, joining the NFL’s Raiders, NHL’s Golden Knights, and WNBA’s Aces. There’s also talk of a Las Vegas NBA team when the league expands again.

 

Ohio

 

The Buckeye State is seeing an influx of Millennials and Gen Z residents, particularly in Columbus, home of the Ohio State University.

 

Beyond the Buckeyes, Columbus also sports several fantastic attractions. The German Village Historic District is just a bridge across from downtown, giving a charming glimpse into the past. Meanwhile, the Easton Town Center is the city’s most modern neighborhood, offering restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.

 

Science buffs can check out COSI, which earned USA Today’s #1 Science Museum in the Country award four years in a row. The North Market is central Ohio’s only public market, with street vendors setting up shop since 1876.

 

Tennessee

 

Tennessee is known for music, and Nashville’s country scene is among the best in the world. See a show at the Grand Ole Opry or Ryman Auditorium and visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to immerse yourself in great musical vibes.

 

The art scene is impressive, with eye-catching statues and sculptures around the city. More than 50 art venues participate in free art crawls to showcase local and international artists and artwork.

 

Food options are plentiful, too. It’s tough to resist a hearty helping of BBQ or to test your mettle with a serving of hot chicken.

 

They provide more flexibility around homes

 

Buying a home can lock people into longer commitments than they might like. Thanks to companies like AMH, rental options in these states give younger people flexibility, both now and in the future.

 

The New American Dream” report from Entrata found that more people are renting by choice — and it doesn’t always come down to cost. Every 1 in 5 respondents expect to be lifelong renters, a 33% increase from 2021.

 

Even though home prices are starting to fall slightly, they’re still significantly higher than average. Per Bankrate, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 20% down payment leads to monthly costs double what they were a decade earlier. Unexpected maintenance costs, property taxes, interest, and homeowners association fees can all add up quickly, limiting financial and geographical flexibility.

 

“When you are a bit more nomadic or have a wanderlust, renting is likely to save you money as you won’t have closing costs and the challenges of owning a home,” says Jay Zigmont, certified financial planner.

 

Georgia, Nevada, Ohio, and Tennessee all have extensive rental options, making them appealing states for people with little interest in buying a home. Renting offers more flexibility, too—perhaps you don’t want to or are unable to own a house right now, but preferences and situations can change over time. When buying feels out of reach, home rentals are a better solution to putting yourself in a financially uncomfortable spot.

 

See for yourself why these states are growing in appeal. Learn more about AMH homes in Georgia, Nevada, Ohio, and Tennessee.

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