Zillow: Millennials are moving every two years for their careers

by Candyd Mendoza04 Oct 2019

Millennials are living in their homes for a shorter period and relocating more frequently than other generational cohorts.

The share of young adults who have lived in their current home for less than two years is nearly 12 percentage points higher than in 1960, according to Zillow.

People ages 55 and older typically live in their homes for over 10 years, while the median tenure for 45.3% of people between 25 and 34 is less than two years.

Compared to older Americans, employed millennials tend to move closer to a new job and into a larger home when they marry or have children, or into a home of their own as they move forward in their lives and careers.

Around 54% of young adults move within the same metro area and opt to live in nearby cities where job opportunities have been concentrated in the past few years.

"Shifting demographic headwinds and evolving workplace norms have significantly altered the housing decisions of young adults today," said Zillow Senior Economist Sarah Mikhitarian. "Untethered from family and enticed by new job opportunities, young adults are more mobile today than they have been over the past nearly 60 years.”

The analysis also showed that millennial renters are more likely to move than homeowners, with almost half of those who moved a year ago said they plan to move again in the next year.

In addition, young adults are marrying and having children later in life compared to older generations. This is another factor that shortens the housing tenure of millennials, as these major life milestones are often the reason for settling down into a more stable housing condition, according to Zillow.

“Instead of getting married or starting a family in their early to mid-twenties as was the norm in past decades, many are waiting until they are established in their careers,” Mikhitarian said. “And the typical career trajectory has fundamentally changed since the 1960s as well – rather than climbing a corporate ladder, many are choosing to hop from one role or function to the next, often requiring a move to a new location."

Of the 35 US metros analyzed, Boston saw the biggest increase in the percentage of millennials that had recently moved, up 22 percentage points since 1960. Pittsburgh (+20.9), Detroit (+17.7), and Philadelphia (+17.4) followed.

Four metros, on the other hand, posted declines in the share of recently moved young adults. These cities included Las Vegas (-6.7 percentage points), Riverside (-6.3), San Diego (-3.8), and Orlando (-1.3).