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Portland is attractive to millennials — those buying homes, too

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Three generations were recently surveyed on where they want to live, and Portland rose to the top, based on home affordability, crime rates, commute times and “community well-being.”

Millennials like the climate and jobs, while Generation X and baby boomers were drawn to social activities.

Potential homebuyers took Clovered home insurance company’s online survey stating their living preferences. El Paso, Texas, was listed first for desirability among the 50 most populous U.S. cities.

Portland came in second. More than 1,000 people took the survey, Clovered said.

Most respondents (54%) said they would prefer a larger home outside the city rather than a smaller one in an urban environment. Location was more important than home quality among the generations surveyed, but it was less of a factor to millennials (55%) compared to Generation X (61%) or baby boomers (69%).

Millennials, born around 1981 to 1996, were twice as likely as older people to want to live in cooler climates with long, snowy winters and mild summers. Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, and Gen Xers between 1965 to 1980.

Of all respondents, 60% said affordability of the home and the area was the top factor affecting their homebuying decision.

Beyond the top four concerns of affordability, crime rate, community well-being and commute times, millennials sought employment and educational opportunities, while those closer to retirement age were more interested in home values, taxes and a healthy social life close to family and friends, the survey found.

Denver was the only city to make it into one of the top two spots for most desirable cities across three generations.

Portland ranked 10th among baby boomers, seventh for Gen Xers and fourth among millennials.

According to a real estate report in September, the Portland area had a notable number of homes listed for sale, with buyers sitting on the sidelines. Sales are in a slight slump as a result, and homes are spending more time on the market. According to census estimates released earlier this year, Portland has fallen down the list of the fastest-growing 100 largest metro areas, from 24th in 2016 to 42nd in 2018. Rising housing costs, as well as a dearth in middle-income jobs, could slow the region’s growth. Still, it remains strong by historical standards: Portland gained an average of 30,000 people per year over the past two decades, a level exceeded only during the 1990s.

— Information from past Oregonian reports is included in this story.

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