• According to Jones Lang LaSalle research, three DC neighborhoods are favored by millennials: NoMA, Southeast, Shaw.
  • Residential development is “drastically outpacing” commercial in some newly developed areas.
  • NoMa by far leads the pack, with millennial growth of more than 1,000 percent between 2010 and 2014.

In a recent analysis by Jones Lang LaSalle’s (JLL) research team, the top three DC neighborhoods that are most attractive to millennials stood out among all residential growth.

Millennials, for purposes of this report, are those ages 25 to 34.

During the years studied, the population of the 10 neighborhoods located along the edges of DC’s downtown core increased 8.4 percent, more than the 4.6 percent increase in the growth of DC proper.

According to the research, DC’s emerging neighborhoods are where the millennials are going. NoMa by far leads the pack, with millennial growth of more than 1,000 percent. The Southeast and Shaw neighborhoods round out the top three.

“We look at how development patterns are playing into office markets,” Scott Homa, director of research for JLL’s Mid-Atlantic region, said. “When core retail and residential develops first, then employees are drawn into those neighborhoods and office development follows downstream.”

In the analysis, Census Bureau data was used to track DC neighborhood residential development in 2010 and 2014. Even then, Homa pointed out, NoMa and the Capitol riverfront have exploded since 2014.

“There are 4,000 dwelling units under construction in the Navy Yard area alone,” he said. “And those will come on line and influence the trend even more down the road.”

In some residential areas, or newly developed areas that turn to residential, residential development is “drastically outpacing” commercial development. Formerly blighted areas are seeing complete face-lifts, with the New York Avenue corridor and the H Street neighborhood also on Homa’s watch list.

“It’s the whole ‘if you build it, they will come’ mentality,” he said. “The millennials are young, very well-educated, and are in well-paying occupations. They are at the stage in their lives where they’re seeking out the studios, 1- and 2-bedroom, and they are driving the growth. At the price point these units are being offered, you have to be highly educated and well-paid.”

The demographics have made developers take notice and cater to that shift. There’s been a concerted effort toward serving that population by making residential living attractive to the car-free young person who has yet to start a family, yet would like to live close to other amenities like the ballpark and to work, Homa added.

“The development is mostly infill,” Homa said, “but it’s having a huge impact on regional demographics now, and downstream.”

Email Kimberley Sirk.

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