Why Millennials Are Renting, Not Buying

by Maggie Kirkwood

Why buy when you can rent? From retail to hospitality to homeownership, the Millennial generation has become one of renters. Young adults who have reached the home-buying area are waiting much longer to purchase a property than previous generations, or sometimes not at all.

Rather than settling down in a suburban home, they’re heading to major metropolitan areas like Minneapolis and taking up residence in urban apartments. Here’s a closer look at why Millennials find renting to be the better option.

The Recession

Economically speaking, Millennials were hit hard during the recession. Young adults who graduated college from 2006 to 2011 found it difficult to enter the job market and start their careers.

Scarce jobs coupled with large student loan debt delayed homeownership. Mortgages are now seen as yet another debt to pay off, which makes renting a more appealing alternative to the permanence of buying a home.

Social Changes

Homeownership isn’t the only thing Millennials are delaying. Getting married and having kids are two common reasons for purchasing a first home, yet this generation is waiting longer to take on these major life events.

For a long time, the concept of renting vs. owning had a stigma attached to it. These days, attitudes have shifted and renting has become more accepted. Sorting out their careers and finances takes priority over entering the housing market.

Career Flexibility

Millennials prefer the fluidity of trying out new places and careers. When a dream job opens up in another city, renting allows them to pick up and leave, whereas homeownership does not offer the same mobility.

College grads are less likely to settle into one job for the long term; instead, they may try one out for a year or two, then choose to move on to the next hot job. Others purposefully take on freelance and contract jobs so they may travel freely, move whenever they feel like it, and work from anywhere.


For Millennials, gone are the days of gated communities and white picket fences. Attending colleges in faraway towns, adopting technology to build personal connections online, and jet-setting to various locales have all contributed to their new sense of community.

Instead of choosing to separate themselves from neighbors with patches of grass, they’re migrating to urban areas, opting to live closer together, and redefining community through a more social lifestyle.

Urban Amenities

A preference for transit-oriented and auto-independent lifestyles makes walkable neighborhoods highly desirable. Proximity to the best amenities, like restaurants, shopping and nightlife, gives renting in the city more allure. Plus, living near their jobs affords active and health-conscious Millennials the opportunity to improve their commutes by walking or biking to work.

Rental Perks

Limited upkeep and maintenance. Living spaces with posh amenities and swanky features. No long-term financial liabilities should the housing market crash. Renting requires less responsibility, risk and monetary commitment. In Minneapolis, developers have recognized and are catering to the demand for rental properties that offer the same luxury benefits as privately-owned condos and lofts, like roof-top pools, private gyms, balconies, hardwood floors, brand-new appliances and outdoor social areas.

Now It’s Your Turn

What’s your take on “generation rent”? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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