On April 29, the ULI Northwest Housing Task Force hosted a sold-out event on millennial housing trends. Keynote speaker Dr. Ali Modarres, Director of Urban Studies at the University of Washington, Tacoma, challenged traditional demographic assumptions pertaining to housing preferences and offered an explanation for the geography of the regional, economic landscape. Presenting findings from his own studies, Dr. Modarres explained how historic transportation decisions, particularly the alignment of the I-5 corridor and lack of regional rail systems, contributed to the establishment of only a few primary employment centers. These historical decisions, coupled with a growing concentration of high-producing tech industries in the urban areas, have given rise to a regional housing market segregated by age, earnings, and family size. These trends have resulted in a geographic job-to-housing imbalance where employment centers are often distant from the residential areas in which workers live.
The discussion was complemented by the input from four millennial panelists who generously shared their professional experiences working in real estate, as well as their personal housing preferences. Katlin Jackson of Fundrise moderated the discussion between Ashley Hayes (Seattle Rental Group), Danny Kruse (Wells Fargo), Scott Bonjukian (Student of Urban Planning and University of Washington), and Skylar Olson (Zillow). Panelists explained their own housing decisions that led to three panelists buying homes and one to renting. Audience members also weighed in. A live poll revealed a near 50-50 percentage split between renters and buyers in the room, with about half of renters planning to buy in the next five years. Audience members also indicated that approximately 86 percent of individuals were spending less than 30 percent of their income on housing. Experts panelists commented that 20-30 percent is fairly common; however, these numbers often rise when taking transportation costs into account.
BDS Planning & Urban Design