Millennial homebuyers are looking for affordable homes in walkable areas with plenty of jobs, recreation, and community amenities. Many suburbs are taking notice, revamping their image to welcome these buyers home.
Transforming a suburb's brand can be most effective when these marketing efforts bolster already existing amenities and housing, says Ed McMahon, senior resident fellow at research firm the Urban Land Institute. Ben Muldrow, partner at Arnett Muldrow & Associates, in Greenville, S.C., tells Realtor.com, "Focus needs to be placed on the way the community looks, and events that create a sense of community," like art walks, brew fests, and water or road races that make residents and visitors excited about the town's unique qualities. "Branding should be the tail end of the process." Muldrow's firm has worked with 500 towns in 40 states on rebranding efforts to date.
Emily and Matthew Delamater and their 2-year-old daughter moved to Bridgton from Portland early this year, after deciding they wanted more room to spread out. In Bridgton, where the average home sells for around $236,000 (including lakefront properties), they could get far more for their money than in Portland, where the median list price is $385,000. "It's nice to see a community that's putting effort forth to draw people," she says. "It felt like they were excited about getting new people and businesses to come in."