(From the WSJ. Italics mine. Bolding mine. Underline mine.)
Much of this week’s National Association of Home Builders conference has dwelled on the housing needs of an aging baby boomer population. But their children actually represent an even larger demographic. An estimated 80 million people comprise the category known as “Gen Y,” youth born roughly between 1980 and the early 2000s. The boomers, meanwhile, boast 76 million. (And, uh, we're gonna outlive them.)
Gen Y housing preferences are the subject of at least two panels at this week’s convention. A key finding: They want to walk everywhere. Surveys show that 13% carpool to work, while 7% walk, said Melina Duggal, a principal with Orlando-based real estate adviser RCLCO. A whopping 88% want to be in an urban setting, but since cities themselves can be so expensive, places with shopping, dining and transit such as Bethesda and Arlington in the Washington suburbs will do just fine.
Count me in that 88%, obvi. I'm wracking my brain for a peer to (anonymously) trot out as a counterexample, but I can't.
Transportation for America breaks down a report indicating that these Gen-Y preferences (density, infill, transit-links, walkability) have big economic bonuses:
In Dallas, Texas, for instance, downtown retail sales rose 33 percent the year after the new light rail system began operation. Portland, Oregon attracted $3.5 billion in private investment after just $100 million in streetcar funding. In Sarasota, Florida, downtown development costs clocked in at just half the cost of new development in the suburbs and generated four times the revenue in tax receipts.
Denver, Colorado perhaps best exemplifies the market for new approaches to growth and transit. Home values for Denver residents within a half-mile radius of the Southeast light rail line increased by 18 percent just as home values in the remainder of Denver declined by 18 percent, between 2006 and 2008. Nationwide, one study found that every one-point increase in a home’s “walk score” — a measure of how accessible the area is by foot — corresponded with a $700 to $3,000 increase in property value.