Suburbs Will Become Denser, More Diverse, And More Urban

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Millennials and Baby Boomers will reshape suburbs in the coming years

October 14, 2016

Aurora, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. Photo: Center for Neighborhood Technology/Creative Commons

Between the rise of house-hunting Millennials and retirement-age Baby Boomers within the next few years, the suburbs of the near future will look much different.

According to Curbed, a report titled “Demographic Strategies for Real Estate” compiled by John Burns Real Estate Consulting for the Urban Land Institute (ULI) said that suburbs will get denser, more diverse, and more urban.

The report said that the homeownership rate will continue to drop, from 63.2 percent now to 60.8 percent in 2024. Suburbs will become more walkable, and office campuses and big box stores will become de-emphasized. Immigration will continue to be a factor, as an estimated 52 million Americans (one in seven residents) will be foreign-born by 2025. The population of people age 65 and older will swell to 66 million by 2025, up from 48 million today. As Millennials mature, get married, and have children, they will forgo city-living for a suburban lifestyle.

Many of the factors covered in the report suggest rural areas are primed for growth. They’re traditionally popular with retirees—the country is in the midst of a retirement boom—and with the rise in remote working and online shopping, it’s easier than ever to live and work anywhere. But Burns’ research concludes that rural isn’t coming back; their forecast is pretty bearish on growth outside of urban and suburban areas.

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