Now a Major Real Estate Market Force, More Milliennials Make Move to Suburbs

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NAR’s recent generational survey uncovered some really interesting trends. For starters, more and more Millennials are eschewing urban life and heading for the burbs, where they can afford to buy a house. Though Millennials contributed the largest share of home buyers in 2017 at 36 percent, a shortage of single-family construction has kept aspiring homebuyers from making the move. Additionally, larger numbers of households are living a multi-generational lifestyle, with more younger Baby Boomers buying homes to house their adult children and their own parents. Even Gen X households are buying homes with the intent of having their parents under the same roof. 

Now that many Millennials have started to pay down their staggering student debt, more of them are starting families. According to NAR’s report, the share of Millennials with at least one child continues to grow. But for many Millennial households in America, their desire to become homeowners combined with slow wage growth and high housing costs have pushed many out of larger cities and toward the suburbs. In fact, 52 percent of Millennial homebuyers bought larger and more affordable properties in suburban locations. 

In fact, Thrillist just published a piece that speaks to this trend: “State of the Suburbs: Dallas.” Forced to look in every nook and cranny for a home they can afford, Millennials are now turning their eyes toward the close-in suburbs that might not get as much attention as the master-planned communities in Collin County, such as Duncanville, DeSoto, Garland, and Grand Prairie.  

Of course, a lot of these trends speak to life in Dallas, which has a very upwardly mobile workforce and a lot of Millennials. However, are we seeing a run on suburban living? We asked some of our most-trusted Realtors to find out. 

“Most of the buyers I work with opt for an urban living experience. I think there is still a huge draw to these areas because of lifestyle. A lot of young families want to raise their families in an area that embodies culture, diversity, and that encourages these young families to expose their children to a more active lifestyle. Where they understand that they may have to sacrifice on schools in some areas they understand that in return they get to expose their children to a very authentic experience. They are able to learn about socioeconomic differences, and develop deeper empathy for people from all walks of life — which is priceless. There is a huge community of families in the urban neighborhoods, and we all take pride in raising our babies with each other.” 

Brittney Rhodes, Modtown Realty

“Millennials just want to extend their youth a bit longer!  The mid to late 20s Dallasite will make a life-time promise to NEVER move north of Knox / Henderson.  This would be reputation suicide – what will your friends say? Your co-workers? Your bartenders?  But you get a bit older; maybe you get a dog; perhaps you get married to a guy with a lot of tools; or a kid.  With a puppy, at 30, your life changes and you want more room and earlier bedtimes. The single-family residence I do agree with.  Who moves to the suburbs to live in a half-duplex?  Ok I actually did do that in East Dallas, but still, most people don’t want to.”   

Mindy Niehaus, Haus + Co. Group, JP & Associates 

“From my experience, locally you’re seeing many in that demographic priced out of the urban market. I know that in Dallas the average sales price in urban areas is well over $350k and couple that with HOA dues for a non-single family home and it’s more affordable to be in suburban areas. I think you’ll see a push towards non-traditional growth patterns like more movement south of Dallas in places like Oak Cliff and beyond. Schools are less important in a generation that isn’t having as many children but affordability is a factor, and unless you’re interested in a fixer upper, there’s not much in the way of affordability for single family in urban areas. Some spec builders are doing a good job of trying to build affordable single-family like David Weekley in the Medical District, for example, but it’s a tough market for those who want to be in urban areas at a lower price point.”

David Maez, Vivo Realty Group

“Not many things get us more excited than getting the opportunity to help a first time home buyer take the plunge into homeownership because of the blood, sweat, and anticipation that goes into each home hunt! Millennials make up a large chunk of our business, but for our team, this pool of buyers’ desired locations have been split right down the middle in terms of suburbia versus urban living. One thing has proven to be true; regardless of whether this new generation of buyers is looking to settle down in that new construction single family dream home with all the bells and whistles in suburbs like Wylie, Southlake, and Frisco, or whether they are more motivated by a urban Deep Ellum condo or home within the loop that might need a little TLC but has all of the charm and walkability these hot zip codes have to offer — our Millennial buyers are savvy. They want to work with an agent who will shoot them straight and negotiate skillfully on their behalf because they’ve done their homework and know that this market requires a team with their ear to the ground and that goes for weighing their options on up and coming new build communities, as well as East Dallas hip pockets where agent-to-agent networking is so crucial. The great thing about Dallas is there are so many choices regardless of what you are looking for.” 

Lauri Ann Hanson and Aimee Schreiner of Dwell Partners, Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate

“My clients in that age range tend to choose location based on schools and community amenities such as fitness centers, social activities, etc. Time is very important to them, so they want flexibility and convenience when choosing the area they want to live. They like the family atmosphere of the suburbs as well as the affordability of homes in these areas.”

Cathy Browne, Browne-Douglas Group, Ebby Halliday Realtors



“My clients in this age range are looking for single family homes in older East Dallas neighborhoods. They want to be close to the lake and trails and also restaurants and fun things to do. They love older homes with character and mature trees. Most of my Millennial clients work downtown or uptown and are coming out of rental in those areas. East Dallas is an easy move for them because they are still close to the things they already love to do but they feel like they are more suburban being by the lake.” 

Britt Lopez, Dallas City Center Realtors


“The trend I see is that single individuals as well as couples without dependents still prefer to be in urban areas. Even couples starting a family will buy their first single-family/townhome together in the ‘in-Town’ Dallas neighborhoods. The exodus to the suburbs begins when Jack and Jill are entering elementary school or middle school, and families can’t justify the cost of private schools or a home in Highland Park. There are a few more choices in Dallas ISD for elementary, but most parents feel that when their children graduate from elementary school it’s Highland Park, private schools, or suburbia.”

Phillip Murrell, Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate



For more generational trends, check out NAR’s infographic and full report below:


2018 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report by Anonymous 2whCTMllC2 on Scribd


Joanna England

If Executive Editor Joanna England could house hunt forever, she absolutely would. Instead she covers the North Texas housing market and the economy for While she started out with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Joanna's work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News as well as several local media outlets. When she's not knitting or hooping, or enjoying White Rock Lake, she's behind the lens of her camera. She lives in East Dallas with her husband, son, and their furry and feathered menagerie.

Reader Interactions


  1. Carol Beggs says

    A little over three years ago my single, 35 year old son bought a home in DeSoto/Cedar Hill area for $145k, with 3 bedrooms, huge lot, mature trees, quiet neighborhood with about 1800 sq ft. Last month a house almost identical to his (actually not as updated) sold for $188k. He simply could not afford a home in Lakewood, East Dallas area. He is still close to his favorite golf courses and can get downtown/uptown in a decent amount of time. I thought he was crazy for buying in that part of town….shows you what I know. Not a bad investment!

  2. Gus Mitchem says

    The Milliennial idea is just the latest in the generational labels….people are people and human nature (albeit, more and more delayed) eventually kicks in.

    Hauling groceries up and the trash bags down those apartment stairs eventually gets old
    You cant really Uber with a baby seat
    Bars are way less fun after the hearing starts to fade.

    Bet against the apartment developers, Bet on the traditional home builders once again ! Households are being created once again !

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