Millennials head back to the ‘burbs – with Mom and Dad and fam
MAIN IMAGE: Berry Everitt, CEO Chas Everitt International Property Group
As Generation Z flocks to the cities, more and more members of Generation Y (more popularly known as Millennials) are steadily moving back to the suburbs to live with their parents and often, their siblings and grandparents too.
And this migration is not only about money – or perhaps the lack of it, as more and more people watch jobs and businesses disappear in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdowns. “It’s also very much about having more living space and gardens and the company of other people you like, love and trust,” says Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group.
“Millennials, now aged between about 26 and 40, are renowned for rejuvenating many city centres around the world as they fled from the suburbs a decade ago and went in search of the live-play-work lifestyle in their trendy lofts and high-rise apartments handily located close to coffee shops and restaurants, galleries and theatres, gyms, artisanal bakeries and handmade clothing and jewellery outlets, as well as their offices.
“But with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic almost a year ago, many of them found themselves stuck in small apartments and townhouses and unable to enjoy their previous very social lives outside of these spaces.”
With offices shut down and almost all other businesses closed, the city centres were largely deserted, and those who still had jobs found themselves working from home full-time, with nowhere to go for coffee break or an exercise session or even some retail therapy, he says.
“Cabin fever started to run rampant, especially among those who were also trying to homeschool children in their new at-home workspaces / living rooms. And at the same time, many Millennials were worried about parents and other elderly relatives living in retirement homes and care centres, which were some of the institutions worst hit by the Covid-19 virus.
“So it’s not really surprising that as soon as the harshest restrictions were lifted, they swiftly started to head straight back to the suburban environments of their youth, and either move back in with their parents or pool their resources with other family members and purchase multi-generational properties where there are gardens for the children to play in, “granny flats” for the ageing in-laws to be safe in, and home offices that are separate from the main living areas.”
Writing in the latest Property Signposts newsletter, Everitt says that some have even gone so far as to move away from the city altogether and head for smaller country or coastal towns, having realized that as remote-working fast becomes the norm, they will increasingly be free to live wherever they please without having to face a time- and money-wasting daily commute.
“What is more, many Millennials are likely to make these changes permanent as they experience the joys of owning a property that enables several generations or branches of the family to live together and share costs, chores, childcare and even food production, while also enjoying their own entertainments and social interactions – and provides better security due to the continuous presence of people on the property.
“As a result, there is expected to be a boom over the next few years in suburban home alterations to provide the extra spaces needed to accommodate more family members as well as home offices, entertainment spaces and even classrooms, and an increase in demand for larger stands and smallholdings where extended families can build separate homes and enjoy the best of both worlds: togetherness and privacy when they need it.”
And in this way, he says, the Millennials, who have been prompted by the pandemic to completely rethink their lifestyles for the second time in their lives, are likely to have a profound effect on real estate trends and prices – again.