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Millennials are more willing to live far away from the office

Date posted:  11/12/15 09:15:00 AM Young adults are willing to live farther away from their workplace than previous generations.

Economists throughout the country have struggled with forecasts pertaining to millennials and their home buying decisions. Thus, the National Association of Realtors believes understanding the trends set by millennials could go a long way in helping the housing industry make more informed predictions.

After all, millennials account for a large portion of the potential homebuyer population, and many young adults in that age demographic are first-time buyers, something the housing market has sorely lacked in recent years.

In a joint study conducted by Millennial Branding and Randstad, millennials were found to have a few distinctive traits that could impact their home buying decisions. It seems millennials are willing to live farther away from their work than previous generations.

"Where and how people work is changing," said Fred Schmidt, president and CEO of a financial institution. "The millennial generation and shifting economy are a big part of that. It's important for commercial real estate professionals to understand these trends and be able to provide solutions for today's evolving marketplace."

Long commute? No problem
The joint study showed millennials are willing to live farther away from their office compared to other generations. While Generation X and baby boomers said they were willing to commute 36 and 31 minutes, respectively, millennials are willing to spend an average of 51 minutes on their commute to work.

One of the reasons young adults might be more willing to accept a longer commute is because many graduated from school during the Great Recession and struggled to find work. A lack of available jobs would only propel the distance young adults would be willing to travel for a full-time gig.

Still, NAR reported there are other reasons millennials are willing to commute, including young adults moving to the suburbs in lieu of major cities.

"Millennials are going to drive demand for years to come," Schmidt said. "Employers should make note of where and how people want to work in order to create an environment that will help recruit and maintain a productive workforce. What we need to keep top of mind is that office space should be adaptable and flexible, allowing for both open spaces and private areas."

A willingness to commute could also stem from millennials wanting to work in an office. While remote jobs continue to pop up, that demographic is less likely to want to work from home compared to Generation Xers and baby boomers. While 77 percent of Generation Xers and 71 percent of baby boomers would rather work remotely, only 67 percent of millennials said they would rather work at home.

NAR reported these findings show millennials can't be neatly categorized into a specific group. The association said the commercial and residential housing market should take note of millennial habits when trying to lure potential buyers of that age.

Millennials are extremely interested in school rankings
Many millennials looking to buy a home are also considering the suburbs due to better schools. Gant Daly reported young adults looking to start families strenuously search the test scores and school ranking before deciding to move to a particular neighborhood.

"Local schools are clearly more important to specific population segments – such as today's millennials, who either have or are planning to have children," Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for, told Gant Daily. "High-ranking schools can have a positive impact on home values over time as new families pay a premium for access to better schools."

Of the 10 most-searched schools, three were from Florida. Minnesota, Alabama, Texas, New York, North Carolina, California and Kentucky all had one school each in the top 10, which shows education is vastly important to home buying decisions in all regions of the country.