Six Suburbs for Generation Z

Are you thinking about buying your first home? If you’re a member of Generation Z, you’re not alone. Post-millennial adults have learned a lot from the unexpected delays and disappointments that are keeping 19 million mortgage-ready millennials in rentals. Planning well is one of them.

One question to answer is where you want to live. Conditions for first-time homebuyers vary a lot from one place to another. Affordability, employment prospects, and proximity to friends and family are three variables that can help you decide where to settle. In deciding where to buy a first home, each generation has likes and dislikes that reflect its values and priorities. Recently Homes.com surveyed more than 1,000 members of Generation Z to find out more about their home-buying plans, including what kind of neighborhood they prefer.

The survey found preferences centered around four characteristics:

  • Diversity. More than half prefer neighborhoods and communities that are racially and ethnically diverse;
  • Accessibility. Three out of four want a location that is accessible to work as well as to friends and family;
  • Safety. This is a priority when Generation Z-ers evaluate neighborhoods
  • Affordability. Generation Z is very aware of rising home prices that have kept millions of millennials from becoming homeowner.,

If you haven’t yet settled down and are open to moving, you might be interested in learning about options. In no particular order, here are six suburban locations that rank high in the four characteristics identified by the survey.

Lilburn, Georgia (Atlanta)

Located in Gwinnet County, northeast of Atlanta, Lilburn is a bedroom community with an approximate 30-minute drive to the city. With a population of about 12,000, it grew following construction of the Lawrenceville highway that radiated from Atlanta. Its median income, unemployment rate, home value, and age of its residents are slightly higher than the state average. Lilburn has been recognized nationally as one of the most diversified communities in the nation by Niche.com and one of the safest in Georgia by BackgroundChecks.org. Its population is only 49% white. Hispanics account for 30% of its population, Asians for 20%, and African Americans 18%.

atlanta, georgiaatlanta, georgia

Florin, California (Sacramento)

A city of 47,000 in Sacramento County, Florin is only 5.5 miles and an average commute time of 27 minutes from Sacramento. Florin (derived from “flora” or flowers) is in a rich agricultural district in the Central Valley, not far from the base of the Sierra Nevada. Florin flourished between the late 1890s and early 1900s, producing record crops of strawberries and grapes. After the turn of the 20th century, it developed a size-able Japanese community, which was devastated by World War II and the internment of its Japanese citizens in camps. Today, Florin’s unemployment rate is 3.8%, its median income level is about $20,000 lower than the state average, and its median home price is about equal to the national median. Asians account for 30% of its population, and Hispanics 28%.

Shaker Heights OH (Cleveland)

With a population of more than 28,000 residents, Shaker Heights is only a 25-minute ride on one of town’s two RTA lines or a ten-minute drive from downtown Cleveland. Its nine distinctive neighborhoods feature classic architecture, tree-lined streets and access to a variety of amenities from biking and ice skating to a 200-acre nature center. Healthcare, management, and teaching are the top fields of employment, and its crime rate is close to the national average. Shaker Heights is the sixth most ethnically diverse in Ohio. Only about half of its residents are white, a third are African American, and 5% are Asian. Two-thirds of its residents are college graduates and its median household income is $30,000 higher than the national median. However, its real estate is comparatively affordable. The median home value is about $260,000, about the same as the national median.

Glendale Heights, Illinois (Chicago)

Glendale Heights is a western suburb of Chicago with a population of about 35,000. The city is the most important passenger and freight transport hub in the country with over 30 Fortune 500 companies have headquarters there. It is recognized locally for its economic and cultural diversity, arts and culture and historic preservation. Until 1958, the site of Glendale Heights was mostly rural, but over the years, it has experienced significant economic and population growth. The average commute time to downtown Chicago is about 25 minutes by car. The median home price in Glendale Heights is about $225,000, equal to the statewide median and lower than the median of $263,000 for the Chicago metro. Glendale Heights’ population is 35% white, 32% are Hispanic, 23% Asian, and 7% are African American.

chicago, illinoischicago, illinois

Valley Stream, New York (New York City)

Located in Nassau County on Long Island, Valley Stream is a village of about 40,000 in the town of Hempstead, along the border with Queens. Living in Valley Stream has an urban feel and most residents are young professionals who own their homes. Median household income is about $100,000 and median home values are around $400,000, which is approximately $50,000 lower than the median for Long Island. Valley Stream’s population is 32% white, and 23% are African Americans. Hispanics account for 25% of the populace and 15% are Asian. Valley Stream’s crime rate is about one-third of the average for New York State.

Stafford, Texas (Houston)

Stafford began life in 1830 as a plantation with a cane mill and a horse-powered cotton gin. Today it’s a bedroom community in the greater Houston area with 18,000 residents, a performing arts theatre & convention center, and a Swaminarayan Mandir, one of four temples of the Hindu sect in the US. At $59,094. Stafford’s median annual income is slightly higher than the state median and its median house value is $195,527, higher than Houston’s but far below the national median of $260,000. Its violent crime rate is half as high as Houston’s and is the fourth most diverse community in Texas. African Americans constitute Stafford’s most populous race at 30%.


Steve Cook is the editor of the Down Payment Report and provides public relations consulting services to leading companies and non-profits in residential real estate and housing finance. He has been vice president of public affairs for the National Association of Realtors, senior vice president of Edelman Worldwide and press secretary to two members of Congress.

Source: homes.com

The Homebuying Journey with Love and Renovations

Hello, Homes.com! My name is Amanda Hendrix and I blog with my husband, Corey, at Love & Renovations about DIY, home decor, and how we make our builder-grade house in the suburbs of Austin feel like home. We are embarking on the process of selling our second home and moving into what will (hopefully) be our forever home, and we’re so excited to be sharing the journey here with you.

The House Hunt

We have always loved fixing up homes that need a little love, so when we began the process of searching for our third home we knew we wanted something that wasn’t updated and needed some work. We’ve always lived in homes that were a bit on the ugly side when we moved in because there’s nothing more satisfying than totally transforming it!

exterior of a gray and white homeexterior of a gray and white home

We were so confident in our plans that as we began browsing for a home we hid “new construction homes” in our Homes.com searches because there was no way we’d be buying a brand new build. We need an older house with character, ugly tile to demo, and old laminate counters that are so bad you have to shield your eyes when you walk in the room! I mean, what good is an “after” without a really bad “before”, right?! 

But then (there’s always a “but then,” isn’t there?), we decided to go scout some neighborhoods in our area on a whim one afternoon because we were antsy to look at houses. We pulled up to a gorgeous neighborhood with brand new homes and I cringed a little in my soul. However, I started to cringe a little less as we drove past the gorgeous pool and splash pad at the amenity center, the gym for the residents, and the walking trails throughout the neighborhood. I had never seen an older neighborhood in our area with all of this exciting stuff so I have to admit I was intrigued.

We love houses (obviously), and the kids were getting antsy so we decided to pop into the model home. Just for fun! We DEFINITELY weren’t going to actually buy a new construction home.

You’re sensing the foreshadowing, right?

We got to chatting with the saleswoman and found out they just so happened to be building a home in our exact budget, in the size we want, and that it would be finished right in time for us to close at our planned mid-November deadline. Oh, and did I mention it had pretty much all of the bells and whistles we could want? Upgraded flooring, a covered patio, a sprinkler system and two-story ceilings in the living room… I’m a sucker for two-story ceilings.

home under construction home under construction

I feel like the rest of the story tells itself – we drove out to a nearby neighborhood that had our layout as the model home, and I got teary-eyed standing in the living room because it just felt so right. All of the pieces fell into place exactly as they should and a couple of days later we found ourselves signing a contract for the new construction home we always swore we’d never buy.

And then the chaos began.

New Construction vs. An Older Home

We quickly learned that buying a new construction home is worlds different than buying a home that’s been previously owned. For starters, the builder requires you to have your home on the market within two weeks (ideally less) of signing your contract. If you aren’t under contract at least a couple of weeks after that then they start to get nervous. We had originally thought we would have a full six weeks to prepare our house before putting it on the market, but we were suddenly looking at a mere six days to get everything done that we wanted to do (photography, marketing, etc) – and that list was long, my friends.

I went on a DIY spree in my house and managed to get the entire list crossed off just in the nick of time, but there were definitely a few stressful moments!

Another big difference when building a new home is all of the choices! When you’re buying a home that’s already been lived in, it comes as it is (unless there are issues to be fixed), but when you’re buying new construction – even a spec home like ours – you get to have some input in the design process. About a week after we signed our contract we got to go out to the design center for our builder and change out some of the finishes that had been decided on for the home. Our house was far enough along in the process that we were only able to change the flooring, but that was the big thing we wanted to change, anyway! If you get in on the process earlier, you’ll have way more options – it’s staggering how many decisions go into building a new construction home!

construction of a new homeconstruction of a new home

Finally, the other big difference we’ve noticed so far comes during the inspection process. When you’re buying a previously-owned home, you generally have one inspection sometime during the option period. With new construction, however, you get to have a few different walkthroughs of the home throughout the building process and you can (and should!) bring an inspector to all of them!

The builder will likely tell you that they have an inspector they work with, but you should always hire an independent inspector to come with you to each of your walkthroughs to check things out. The builder must fix anything that the inspector finds isn’t up to code, so you are guaranteed to walk into a home that has zero issues – which, let’s be real, is a huge perk over buying an older home! It’s a little more expensive to have multiple inspections, but it’s well worth the peace of mind to know that your home is in tip-top shape.

We’ve still got a long way to go on our home buying, and selling, journey, and I am so excited to be able to share the details with you here on Homes.com! If you want some more insight on new construction and the potential benefits, check out this post about the pros and cons of new construction and this post that talks about what new construction upgrades are worth the splurge


Amanda and Corey Hendrix

Amanda & Corey Hendrix bought their first home in 2011 and love to share their renovation and decorating adventures on their blog, Love & Renovations. They love to encourage homeowners to have the confidence to make their house a home, and believe that anyone can tackle DIY projects in their home. You can follow their adventures at loveandrenovations.comInstagramFacebook, or Pinterest.

Source: homes.com

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