5 great markets for millennials to buy their first home

Millennials, the largest generation in U.S. history, are beginning to buy homes and are about to take the real estate market by storm. This group is racially diverse, educated, and is the largest labor force in the country. When buying a home, many married millennials want to live in the suburbs, but some still prefer living within the city limits. Some millennial buyers want a multi-story home, while some prefer condos.

Despite these differences, millennials have one thing in common when finding their perfect home- convenience. They want close proximity to public transportation, to be close to work and to live in an area with a good walk score. Sure enough, Guaranteed Rate’s data proves that this is true. Many of our top metropolitan areas for first-time, millennial buyers happen to be some of the most walkable areas in the country. If you’re looking for your first home, consider one of the markets below. All have ample public transportation, walkable downtown areas in both the city and suburbs, and daily errands typically don’t require a car.

 Chicago- average first home price $261,180

With over 2 million residents, the city of Chicago has many walkable areas that are connected by the ‘L’ or the Metra Rail system, and its 18 mile lakefront trail makes the city very bikeable. Chicago’s metro area of over 9 million people also boasts many city-like suburbs. Evanston is right along Lake Michigan, and has a pedestrian-friendly downtown with shops and restaurants. Oak Park, a south suburb, is a short ‘L’ ride to the city, with three upscale retail districts and nightlife.

Boston- average first home price $376,152

Boston has been named “The Walking City” due to MBTA, America’s first subway system. In fact, people in Boston can walk to an average of three restaurants or bars in only five minutes. Boston home prices can be high, but luckily, there are several close, lively suburbs that are less than 30 minutes from the city. Waltham has historic condos near Moody Street, with local restaurants and boutiques. Cambridge, home of Harvard University, has a number of thriving local businesses for both college students and young professionals.

Philadelphia- average first home price $272,262

Some of the city’s most walkable areas include Rittenhouse Square, Avenue of the Arts South and Center City West. University City is home to University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University, offering many local businesses in walking distance. The SEPTA train system provides transportation both in the city and suburbs, and the Acela Express trains provide easy access between Boston, New York and Washington, DC. If you want to move to the suburbs without losing Philly’s walkability and culture, consider New Hope, Jenkintown, Narberth or Doylestown. Or, consider Collingswood, a Philadelphia suburb across the river in New Jersey. Residents enjoy art galleries, restaurants and shopping, and can cross the river to Philly via the PATCO line.

Minneapolis- average first home price $185,928

Not only is Minneapolis a thriving city surrounded by several lakes, it’s reasonably priced. The city’s most walkable areas are Lyn-Lake, Downtown West, Lowry Hill East and Uptown, with ample amounts of nightlife, arts and nature for residents to walk to in less than five minutes. The metro area is easily accessible via biking. In fact, the Nike Ride bike program has more than 60 kiosks for its bike sharing program. Its transit system, Minneapolis METRO, runs throughout the city and suburbs with buses, light rail and the commuter rail. Since the city is smaller, some of its suburbs are as close as a 10 minute METRO ride. Nearby suburbs with walkable areas include St. Louis Park, Edina and Hopkins.

Denver- average first home price $321,303

Due to the city’s growing economy, Denver’s walkability has rapidly increased over the last few years. Other than downtown, the most walkable areas are Capitol Hill, Baker and Five Points. These areas have a great selection of shopping and nightlife, and most errands don’t require a car. The RTD light rail and buses serve downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods. It’s easy to get around Denver by bike as well. Like Minneapolis, many of Denver’s suburbs are a short commute to the city. Greenwood Village is only a 10-minute commute, has a vibrant downtown and is one of Denver’s best school districts. Louisville, a 22 minute average commute from downtown, boasts bars and restaurants, as well as walking and biking trails.

*This list was created using Guaranteed Rate’s production database. The list is based on all first home loans Guaranteed Rate funded between 1/10/2016 to 1/10/2017. Guaranteed Rate is licensed in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. All mortgage prices were rounded to the nearest $1,000.

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