'San Diego is beautiful, but if you’re a young person without a lot of cash, North Carolina doesn’t look half bad.
Despite hip locales, craft beer and bike lanes, San Diego County had one of the smaller millennial population increases in the nation from 2005 to 2015, said a study from Apartment List Rentonomics released Tuesday.
The study looked at 345 metros using U. S. census data and found the secret to attracting America’s largest population: wage growth and affordability.
Of the 50 largest metro areas, Houston had one of the biggest millennial population increases. In the decade studied, the Texas city saw its median income, adjusted for inflation, increase 8.4 percent while its millennial population increased 17.4 percent.
Meanwhile, San Diego County’s median income lowered by 1.5 percent, and its millennial population increased 3.9 percent.
“Surprisingly, metropolitan areas on the interior saw the biggest increases in millennial population,” said Andrew Woo, report author and data director at Apartment List. “Unsurprisingly, millennials are attracted by strong job markets.”
In terms of overall millennial growth, San Diego County ranked No. 24 out of the 50 biggest metros. That was ahead of New York City, Las Vegas, Portland and Chicago.
The problem is they aren’t staying, likely because of high housing costs.
San Diego County had the second biggest millennial home-ownership rate among the 50 metros, sinking 8 percent in the decade studied. It had a 19.8 percent millennial ownership rate in 2015.
Only Los Angeles and Orange counties had a lower millennial homeownership rate at 17.8 percent.
Apartment List defined millennials as 18 to 34 years old, so it might make sense their homeownership rate is low. But, millennials put a very high value on owning a home, and they took advantage of it in Minneapolis, where 42.4 percent owned a home in 2015.
In a March study from Zillow of 10,000 renters and homeowners, millennials put the most emphasis, 65 percent, of any generation on homeownership as a way to achieve wealth — even more than the oldest Americans.
Affordability also seemed to be a major factor. The biggest millennial population growth in the top 50 metros was in Charlotte, N.C., despite a 4 percent decrease in median income. However, housing costs in the Charlotte metro area are much lower than most markets: $1,300 median monthly rent and $264,990, median home price, Zillow said.
“Millennials appear to be attracted to Charlotte for a number of reasons,” Woo said. “It is affordable, has great access to recreational activities, and incomes have actually risen in recent years. I expect that it will continue to be popular in the coming years.”
The average rent in San Diego County was $1,743 a month in September, said MarketPointe Realty Advisors, and the median home price was $495,000, said CoreLogic.
Based on those data sources, rent in the Charlotte region increased 19.8 percent since January 2011, while San Diego County had gone up 31 percent over the five-year period. Charlotte home prices went up 18.7 percent in the same time period, while San Diego County went up 57.14 percent.
Financial issues aside, millennials really like San Diego — even if they decide it is too costly. A June study from rental website Abodo said San Diego was the eighth-most preferred city of millennials because it is near a beach, is gay friendly and has a good job market. New York City was No.1.
Looking at all of the 345 metros studied by Apartment List, the town that gained the most millennials was Jacksonville, N.C., which saw a 77.4 percent increase in the decade studied. The population of Jacksonville was 67,357, in 2015 and it is home to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
The biggest loss of millennials was Naples, Fla., which lost 42.5 percent of the young generation in the 21,512-person city.'
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