The Millennial generation – people born between 1981 and 1996 – has been the source of much recent discussion and debate, as the nation’s third-largest generation are poised to take over the second spot some time in 2020. While sheer generational population numbers don’t tend to mean much beyond the upcoming census, Millennials are shaping the makeup of our towns and cities.
Why Are Millennials So Important?
As the largest generation currently in the labor force today, Millennials are earning and spending a vast share of the nation’s currency. Additionally, these young professionals occupy multiple levels of employment, from new hires fresh out of college to seasoned employees with over a decade of experience. As a result of these two phenomena, Millennials also make up the largest share, or 36%, of the homebuying population in the United States.
As the most educated generation in history, Millennials theoretically have a heightened potential to earn money. However, factors like increased student debt and cost of living have made saving for a home more difficult than for previous generations, making Millennials more interested in making ends meet in a new location than any generation before them. As a result, Millennials prioritize areas with a relatively low cost of living and above-average job prospects. They look for affordable financing from authoritative lenders.
The Top Five Places in Oregon For Millennials
As with home searches in any other area of the country, Millennials tend to choose Oregon locations that boast superior affordability as well as solid employment rates and median incomes. If you’re a first time home buyer or searching for a second home, consider these five Oregon locations perfect for Millennials:
- Salem. Salem is a city of just over 432,000 situated between Springfield/Eugene and Portland. It boasts a median home price of $287,900, below either of these other cities, and has a relatively low cost of living as compared to its northern neighbor. With an unemployment rate at only 4.4%, Salem provides a good number of job opportunities in agriculture, health care and technology.
With a median income of $58,758, Salem beats most other members of this list as well. However, its relatively large size ensures Millennials will have ample opportunity to enjoy shopping, dining, and Millennial-approved amenities like the Salem Saturday Market. Overall, Salem provides a good value for young professionals.
- Springfield. Springfield offers one of the state’s lowest costs of living for a city over 10,000, including some of the lowest figures for cost of utilities and cost of food. By comparison, Springfield’s median home price stands at 292,000 for 2019 – much lower than other urban hotspots. While Springfield’s real estate market is currently growing, it bodes well for a home’s resale value in the near future.
Springfield has the added benefit of proximity to Eugene, another city on this list, as well as access to the Willamette and Mackenzie Rivers. A multitude of natural, low-cost recreation exists in the area, as well as plenty of dining. Although the average income of $41,700 isn’t the highest on the list, the relative affordability of the area means Millennials choosing Springfield can stretch that income further than in other areas.
- Eugene. Springfield’s sister city, Eugene boasts the University of Oregon as well as burgeoning lumber, healthcare, and manufacturing industries. With a similarly low cost of living as Springfield as well as a comparative wage, the two cities share more than proximity. Eugene’s median home price is a bit higher at $320,000, while remaining well under that of Portland and other hot markets.
For culture-savvy Millennials, Eugene is one of the most culture-rich cities in the state. Featuring a plethora of university-owned and public museums, galleries, and other cultural events, there’s something for everyone here. Finally, University of Oregon events are a draw for recent graduates as well as those new to the area.
- Coos Bay. Located on Oregon’s beautiful Pacific Coast, Coos Bay is the largest coastal city at nearly 16,300 residents. Cost of living is relatively low for a coastal city, while median home prices stand at $204,000 in 2019. Median household income remains at $43,173, slightly above other cities on this list.
Millennials will find no shortage of activities and industry here. As a prime spot on Oregon’s Adventure Coast, Coos Bay has scenery and outdoor activities to rival any city in the Pacific Northwest. Meanwhile, forestry, tourism, and the service industry provide a great way to finance travel up and down the coast.
- Portland. Recently named number three on a Business Insider list of popular cities for Millennials, we couldn’t leave Portland out of the equation. Although median home prices are a relatively steep $420,000, more affordable homes can be found in Millennial-friendly neighborhoods like Goose Hollow, which features a median value of $369,000. Overall, Portland is still far more affordable for young professionals than other perennial Millennial hotspots like New York and San Francisco, and features unparalleled access to shopping, dining, and the famous “Keep Portland Weird” culture Millennials crave.
If you’re a Millennial embarking on the homebuying journey in Oregon, Washington, Idaho or Colorado, personalize your next move and consider these five hot spots.