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KIRO Radio's Tom Kelly digs deep into the Puget Sound real estate market

Real Estate

Who is going to buy boomers' big suburban homes?

The Millennial generation is showing different housing preferences than previous generations, and some analysts say that Baby Boomers may be growing concerned that they will have a tough time selling their suburban, larger homes due to the Millennials' differing tastes.

The Millennial generation has been called a key to the housing recovery, and housing professionals are taking careful note of how the younger group's housing preferences differ from previous generations.

A new survey by the Urban Land Institute's Terwilliger Center for Housing shows that about 60 percent of the millennial generation prefer a mix of housing choices and prefer to be near shops, restaurants, offices, and transit. Seventy-five percent of Millennials say they value walkability. Of the 63 percent of Millennials who say they plan to move within the next five years, about 40 percent say they expect to move to multifamily housing.

"I do think their preferences are going to result in sustained change," said Lynn Ross, the executive director of the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing. "This group is so different from previous generations."

One of the biggest obstacles facing this generation is student loan debt. Fifty-four percent of those aged 22 to 32 said that debt is their biggest financial concern. Forty-two percent referred to their debt as "overwhelming."

"This generation has been through an incredibly difficult time, and I think it is ultimately going to operate very similarly to the generation that went through the Great Depression," Ross said.

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