REPORT: Millennial population in Arizona among lowest in country

Posted at 6:07 PM, Nov 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-17 13:26:40-05

A troubling new report looking at census numbers and home buying trends shows Phoenix ranks toward the bottom of the list, when it comes to millennial population growth.

Andrew Woo with Apartment Lists said they looked at the change in the millennial homeownership rate over the past decade, which was driven by wage growth.

Highlights from the report indicated that among the 50 largest metropolitan cities, Phoenix ranked #46 in millennial population growth from 2005 to 2015. Nationwide, millennial population growth was correlated with median income.

In Phoenix specifically, median income decreased by 4.9 percent. The millennial home ownership rate fell nearly everywhere, but in Phoenix it fell more than the national average, 11.3 percent versus 7.4 percent.

The report showed millennial were choosing to move to cities like Charlotte, NC; Austin, TX; Houston, TX; Omaha, Neb.; Tulsa, Okla.; Nashville, Tenn.; Indianapolis, Ind.; and Seattle, Wash. Median income had a lot to do with these decisions, according to Woo.

ABC15 took these numbers to local real estate experts. 

Tina Tamboer, a Senior Real Estate Advisor with the Cromford report said while it was difficult to track age with home buying trends, the current housing market had made it difficult for millennial to move into a home, as most new construction was not catering to first time home buyers.

"New listings are down about 25 percent for the price range under $150,000 in the Valley," Tamboer said.

There was also a lot of competition for those homes as downsizing baby boomers and boomerang buyers who had been working to clear up credit and foreclosures off their history, were back in the market competing for the same homes.

"The areas that are popular for millennials tend to be on the outskirts of towns. Lavine, Buckeye, San Tan Valley and the town of Maricopa, essentially that's where the less expensive real estate tends to be," Tamboer said.

Francesca Bessett, a millennial who had chosen to stay in Arizona and start up her own business, admitted it was a nerve-racking decision.

"I've had friends that moved away for job opportunities. Not enough money here, not enough opportunity.  Many have moved away for jobs they found elsewhere," Bessett said.

A friendly local government and support from other small businesses had helped her thrive with her company, Painting with Canvass.

"Starting it up was very scary but it's been one of the most rewarding things I've done," she added.

ABC15 reached out to Governor Doug Ducey's office to find out what they are doing to lure millennials back to the Grand Canyon State.

A spokesman sent us this statement:

“Governor Ducey is committed to making Arizona the most attractive place in the country to work and do business, including for people starting their careers. From the sharing economy to the tech economy, the governor is getting government out of the way to allow start ups, entrepreneurs and the jobs of the future to grow and flourish.”

State officials have also been working with elected officials to make Arizona a attractive place to work. Some measures include:

  • Passing legislation to embrace new technologies and to eliminate or improve outdated, burdensome regulations
  • Using our common-sense economic policies to attract new companies (and jobs!) to Arizona
  • Investing in our education system to ensure that millennials across the state can take advantage of these new opportunities

These initiatives, among others, are proving to millennials across the U.S. that our state has a very bright future— and that we’d love them to come along for the ride.

"It's time for our laws to get with the times," Ducey said.