Suburbanites Are Happiest, Poll Finds

City centers and downtowns may be growing in demand among millennials and retiring baby boomers, but a new poll says residents are still happiest in the suburbs.

Americans who live in suburban areas are the most satisfied with the place they live, according to the Atlantic Media/Siemens State of City Poll. Eighty-four percent of suburbanites rated their community as “excellent” or “good” compared to 75 percent of urban dwellers and 78 percent of rural residents, according to the poll of more than 1,600 U.S. adults.

The survey revealed some racial, economic, and generational differences in community satisfaction. For example, in urban areas, whites were significantly more likely than minorities to say they were happy with their communities as places to live. Also, younger adults in general were less likely to rate their communities as “excellent” or “good” compared to their older counterparts. Older respondents tended to hold more favorable views of the place where they live.

Home ownership also appeared to be a major predictor for how satisfied residents were with their community. In urban areas, 44 percent of home owners rated their community as “excellent” compared to 22 percent of urban renters. Among non-urban home owners, 46 percent rated their community as “excellent” compared to 31 percent of non-urban renters, the poll found.

Source: “Overall, Americans in the Suburbs Are Still the Happiest,” The Atlantic CityLab (Aug. 25, 2014)

Generational Differences Drive Housing Preferences?

Younger home buyers tend to view their home as a strong investment, more so than older buyers who tend to view their homes as a match to their lifestyle, according to the 2014 NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study, based on a survey of more than 8,700 responses from buyers and sellers.

The survey provided an look at generational differences of recent buyers and sellers.

The largest group of recent buyers is millennials, those under the age of 34, comprising 31 percent of recent home purchases, according to the survey. Generation X buyers, born between 1965 and 1979, accounted for 30 percent of recent purchases, and younger boomers, born between 1955 and 1964, accounted for 16 percent.

“Given that millennials are the largest generation in history after the baby boomers, it means there is a potential for strong underlying demand,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Moreover, their aspiration and the long-term investment aspect to owning a home remain solid among young people. However, the challenges of tight credit, limited inventory, eroding affordability, and high debt loads have limited the capacity of young people to own.”

Other findings are at survey source:   National Association of REALTORS®