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Four Chicagoland Suburbs Among Best Housing Markets for Millennials

by Kathryn June Ryan

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Four Chicagoland suburbs are among the best housing markets for Millennials in America, according to a recent analysis of the nation’s suburban areas.

The study, which was conducted by rank and review website Niche, featured Oakbrook Terrace, North Chicago, Forest Park and Lisle as having the best suburbs for young professionals. Oakbrook Terrace ranked No. 67, North Chicago 76, Forest Park 83 and Lisle 98.

Niche determined those rankings through careful analysis of each area’s key factors that are important to Millennials. Some factors that were considered in those analyses included job opportunities, access to bars and restaurants, and affordability. At the time of analysis, Niche’s database contained records for 11,372 suburbs. Of those suburbs that met the required qualifications, Niche graded 11,326 and ranked 3,619.

Most Millennials Want to Buy, but Many Uncertainties Remain

In a time of many questions for Millennials, one thing is certain – Millennials do desire homeownership. A recent survey by Trulia discovered that 93 percent of Millennials want to  own a home someday. Some of these desires have clearly been acted on, as NAR’s 2015 Generational Trends report demonstrated, which found that 32 percent of all home purchases in 2014 were made by Millennials; Baby Boomers ranked second at 31 percent.

While Millennials certainly desire homeownership, many factors stand in the way of them actually achieving that goal. Two of the most important factors affecting Millennial homeownership are employment and wages. While Millennial employments rates are consistently improving, these advances are not paired with stronger wages. In 2014, wages were only up 2.2 percent, which is basically flat when inflation is accounted for. When it comes to strictly Millennials, wages have actually been negative in recent years.

Unfortunately, the low wages of Millennials are coupled with high rates of debt. As Millennials enter today’s work force, most of them are accompanied by some amount of student debt. Since 1993, the average student debt burden has doubled to $33,000. A new study from the Federal Reserve discovered that all 48 mainland states have between 20 and 30 percent of their 25-year-olds living at home with their parents. In Illinois, the situation is even worse, with between 50 and 60 percent of Millennials living at home with their parents.

This combination of low wages and student debt is also contributing to the Millennial generation’s low savings rate. Millennials have the lowest savings rate in the nation at -2 percent, compared with 3 percent for Generation X, 6 percent for Younger Baby Boomers and 13 percent for Older Baby Boomers. Considering that 83 percent of Millennials utilized savings for down payments, this proves that savings are uniquely important to Millennial homeownership, thus making homeownership that much harder to break into.

Best Chicagoland Suburbs for Millennials

While breaking into Millennial homeownership is no easy endeavor, there are certain Chicagoland suburbs that make it a bit easier. Chicago Agent examined Niche’s analysis and collected the study’s top 20 Chicagoland suburbs for Millennials:

  1. Oak Brook Terrace
  2. North Chicago
  3. Forest Park
  4. Lisle
  5. Clarendon Hills
  6. East Hazel Crest
  7. Riverside
  8. Gilberts
  9. Hodgkins
  10. West Dundee
  11. Oak Park
  12. Palatine
  13. Highwood
  14. Bensenville
  15. Westmont
  16. Wheeling
  17. St. Charles
  18. Hickory Hills
  19. Itasca
  20. Villa Park

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