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How Millennials Will Drive the Commercial Real Estate Industry

By August 19, 2019RETS Blog

The Millennial generation has come of age! Their job choices are diverse, and they are relocating to different cities. The Millennial population is a coveted generation for cities looking to bolster their workforce and economy, considering the enormous impact they have on local markets. Millennials are now the largest group of homebuyers, and over the next few years, we will watch this generation continue to grow- get married, have children, and move locations based on careers and interests.

Millennials are transforming the commercial real estate industry with their unique viewpoints and advanced technological savvy and needs. The Millennial effect is influencing the way business is done across the board. They insist on receiving information faster, more efficiently, and user-friendly. As Baby Boomers continue to pass the torch down to a new generation, the commercial real estate industry would be wise to keep Millennials priorities in mind. As shown above, SmartAsset used Census Bureau data, tracking immigration and emigration to grasp Millennials’ mobility. The results are depicted in the two graphs of the top ten states and cities where Millennials are moving.

Key Findings:

  1. The STATE that ranked the most attractive? Washington. For the second year in a row, Washington State leads the country with net migration of 36,257.
  2. Behind Washington came Texas and Colorado with having the greatest “net migration.”
  3. Millennials are headed West and South – with all of the top ten most popular cities located in these regions in the U.S. other than New Hampshire.
  4. Additionally, SmartAsset revealed the states with the highest number of incoming Millennials, not taking into account the number of Millennials moving out, were North Carolina, New York, Florida, Texas and California.
  5. The CITY that ranked the most attractive? Dallas… followed by Seattle and Portland. The Dallas-Fort Worth area outpaced job growth in most major industries compared to other major metropolitan areas.

These results are all important insights into a major consumer group who have extremely high economic value. Essentially, Millennials are moving for a variety of reasons: job opportunities, affordable housing, and quality of life. Companies, organizations and cities everywhere are beginning to focus on attracting young, educated talent to fill openings at this time of historically low unemployment. Sustaining a positive net domestic migration and inflow of people will continue to propel major cities and the commercial real estate industry forward as future growth markets.

It is especially crucial for the commercial real estate industry to embrace and understand Millennials as both employees and clients. This generations’ expectations for a digital experience carries over into their professional sphere. As they ascend into management, their preferences will come to define the way the industry is run. In fact, on the deal side, we’re starting to see accelerated technology adoption throughout the business.

Commercial real estate has traditionally always been a people-centric business that revolves around personal relationships. While that remains pivotal, the channels that are used to forge and maintain these relationships are changing. The tools with which we do business are transforming quickly and it is in the best interest of all CRE businesses to adopt these digital approaches.

This generation is the driving force behind many major transformations throughout the industry, whether it’s new commercial space preferences or changing technological fluency in the office. Ultimately, this migration will not only affect the culture and atmosphere of the cities themselves, but the businesses and industries within them.


Berkeley Davis, Managing Director, About Berkeley

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