Millennials are saddling up and moving to the South and West, according to’s Top Cities for Millennials report.

This year, Salt Lake City; Miami; Orlando, Florida; Seattle; Houston; Los Angeles; Buffalo and Albany, New York; San Francisco and San Jose, California, took the top spots due to a robust job market, access to affordable housing or a strong millennial population share.

“High job growth in markets such as Orlando, Seattle, and Miami, and the power of affordability in places like Albany and Buffalo are making these markets magnets for millennials.” said Javier Vivas, manager of economic research for in a statement.

“But what really stands out is that all these markets already have large numbers of millennials, which translates into strong populations of millennial home buyers.”

Salt Lake City

Nearly 16 percent of Salt Lake City’s population is made up of millennials — approximately 3 percentage points higher than the national share of 13 percent. says that this, paired with a rock-bottom unemployment rate of 2.9 percent, makes Salt Lake City the perfect place for Millennials who are looking to begin their homeownership journey without breaking the bank.

On the social side, millennials are attracted to Salt Lake City’s “urban city with the relaxed vibes of a mountain town” aura, which provides the excitement of city life while keeping the cost of living affordable.

One millennial hotspot is Sugar House, located southeast of downtown Salt Lake City while offering hip bars and trendy restaurants.


Millennials are drawn to Miami because of the city’s vibrant blend of cultures, a red-hot nightlife scene, a strong tourism industry and its reputation for being one of the “it spots” for entrepreneurs.

But, millennials will have to pay dearly for all that excitement — the average buyer spends 49 percent of their income on mortgage costs, a whopping 19 percent above the affordability baseline of 30 percent.

Moreover, Miami’s unemployment rate is 0.4 percent above the national average of 4.7 percent.


Orlando, Florida, the home of Disney, snatched the no. 3 spot due to its easy-to-access public transportation system, expansive shopping and dining options and the opportunity to work for large companies such as Publix, Comcast and Disney.

The population share for millennials in Orlando is 14.6 percent, which aligns with the national average. Furthermore, housing is much more affordable than the city’s neighbor to the south. The average buyer spends 34 percent of their monthly income on housing. says the most popular neighborhood for millennials in Orlando is Thornton Park, a historic neighborhood filled with charming bungalows.


Seattle is a hotspot for millennials who want to work for and live around some of the nation’s most recognizable brands such as Starbucks, Amazon, Filson, K2 and REI.

The Emerald City has the second largest concentration of millennials and offers fairly affordable housing with buyers on average spending 35.6 percent of their monthly income on mortgage costs.

The most popular neighborhoods for millennials are Capitol Hill and Belltown, both of which boast boutique shopping, craft breweries and exceptional dining options.


Millennials who are looking for a fresh start need look no further than Houston. says the robust job market offers new graduates or millennials who need a career boost plenty of opportunities to get ahead. On the other hand, millennials will need those high-paying jobs to keep up with a higher monthly mortgage payment.

The average buyer spends 36.1 of their monthly income on housing costs.

Millennials are drawn to The Heights, Oak Forest and Timbergrove areas, which offer plenty of trendy restaurants, shops and boutiques all within a close proximity to downtown Houston.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles is the least affordable city on this list, with the average buyer spending a mind-blowing 64.1 percent of their monthly income on housing. But millennials are overlooking the exorbitant prices and focusing on the wealth of opportunity to break into the tech and entertainment industries.

The millennial population share is the same as the national average, and most of these young buyers are flocking to Silver Lake, a community full of creatives.


Coming in at No. 7, Buffalo, New York, offers millennials with a tech bug the chance to work with burgeoning tech companies and even start one of their own due to the number of incubators in the city, such as 43 North.

Moreover, Buffalo is the most affordable city on the list, with the average buyer spending only 22.7 percent of their salary on housing. Score!

Millennials in Buffalo are especially drawn to the downtown and North Buffalo areas due to a revitalization of the area and family-friendly activities.


Although Albany’s millennial population share is the lowest on the list, that isn’t stopping millennials from coming to the “Silicon Valley of the East Coast.” GE recently moved its HQ to the city, creating 7,000 new jobs.

The average buyer spends 27.3 percent of his or her income on housing, and the unemployment rate is at 4.5 percent, signaling a steady and strong job market.

Millennials are staying within the downtown area where the bar and craft brewery scene is robust.

San Francisco

Millennials who want to work for tech giants such as Twitter and Spotify, or want to start a company of their own, are coming to San Fran in droves despite the lack of affordable housing. The average buyer spends 56.2 percent of their income on housing here.

Because of high home prices, says millennials are taking the rental route and are going to the Sunset District and Daly City — two of the more affordable areas in the city.

San Jose

Again, millennials who want to break into the tech industry are going to San Jose, which offers “the infamous Silicon Valley paycheck” with slightly more affordable housing.

Millennials are moving to the downtown area because of a great public transit system that makes getting to trendy shopping and dining areas a piece of cake.

About the study analyzed the 60 largest markets in the U.S. and compared the share of millennial page views in each area to the national average. Markets were ranked based on their comparison to the national average. Page view data included in this analysis covers the period from August 2016 to February 2017. The report is based comparisons to the national millennial population share, affordability and unemployment rates.

Email Marian McPherson

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