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Housing independence is a big hurdle for millennials, Zillow analysis shows


Only 9 percent of millennials nationwide live alone, a figure that has been on the decline since 2005, a new Zillow analysis shows.

In fact, between 2000 and 2013, the percentage of 23- to 34-year olds living with family jumped 46 percent, Zillow reports. The company estimates that some 21 percent of working-age millennials across the nation are living at home with their mothers, up from 13.1 percent in 2005.

Zillow concludes that the figures are indicative of how difficult it is for millennials to afford housing, particularly in some of the nation’s hottest markets — such as San Jose, California, where only 6.5 percent of millenials live independently; or Riverside, California, where the figure is 6.1 percent. Other cities coming in below the national mark on that measure, according to Zillow, include Los Angeles, 8.1 percent; and Miami, also 8.1 percent.

Home prices nationwide are up, on average, about 5 percent over the past year while rents have jumped by almost 3 percent, “making it more difficult for millennials to live on their own,” Zillow reports. The rising home prices and escalating rents are forcing millions of millennials across the country to choose to live with their parents or find roommates to share the cost burden, Zillow concludes.

There are exceptions to that trend, however.

"With home prices and rents rising as fast as they are, it's a common assumption that young adults in many cases cannot afford to live alone," Zillow Chief Economist Dr.Svenja Gudell said in a prepared statement. "Though that may be true in some markets, there's still a large number of amazing places across the U.S. that are prime for millennials to thrive independently.

“These are places where young adults can easily find jobs at a competitive salary,” Gudell added, “and where housing expenses won't eat up the majority of their income, enabling them to save more."

A strong labor market, rising employment and solid incomes have made some U.S. cities relative havens of independence for millenials, according to Zillow. Topping the list is Richmond, Virginia.

“The median yearly income among millennials in Richmond is $49,500, which allows them to afford to live in over 15 percent of all rentals in the area,” Zillow reports. “In Oklahoma City, 13 percent of millennials live on their own, with a median income of $40,000 a year. At this salary, they are able to afford almost 22 percent of homes.”

Rounding out the top 10 list of cities with the largest percentages of millennials living independently, according to Zillow, are the following markets: Pittsburgh, 14.3 percent; Buffalo, New York, 14.2 percent; Columbus, Ohio, 14 percent; Virginia Beach, Virginia; 13.9 percent; Cleveland, 13.9 percent; New Orleans, 13.4 percent; Austin, Texas, 13.4 percent; and Kansas City, Missouri, 13.4 percent.

Questions? Contact Bill Conroy at or (800) 297-6061.



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