Why do people choose to live where they do, and how do their priorities and housing trade-offs shift over time? Using data from a recent study by the Centre for Cities, a research and policy institute based out of London, CityLab highlighted some key insights into the motivations behind where people choose to live.
It should come as no surprise that the top reasons overall for choosing where to live are the cost of housing (at 28 percent), being close to family and friends (28 percent), the size and type of housing (22 percent), and being close to their job or their partner's job (21 percent).
However, Richard Florida, co-founder and editor of CityLab, points out that these housing decisions vary significantly depending on age. He points out that people generally make three big moves in their lifetime, and their priorities and trade-offs are different at each of these three stages.
When working with clients at these three different age demographics, it's important to highlight aspects of your listing that match up with their priorities at that given time in their lives.
These are the three main types of moves:
1. The post-college, career-minded 20-something move.
Those between 25-34 years of age tend to make housing and moving decisions based on their career. In fact, 31 percent of this age group answered that being close to their job or their partner's job was a priority for them. Cost of housing was also important, with 30 percent of respondents saying that was a big factor. While much has been written about younger buyers needing to be close to restaurants, bars, and cultural amenities, only 9 percent said these were important factors in choosing where to live. Access to green space and the environmental factors were not as important to this demographic compared to other age groups.
2. Starting a family/mid-30s move.
People in the 35-54 age group, perhaps focusing on raising a family, were also very concerned with the cost of housing. Unlike their younger counterparts, they placed high value on the size and style of housing (21 percent), the safety and security of the neighborhood (17 percent), and the access to good schools (13 percent). Twenty-five percent of respondents said that it was important to live near family and friends. Few in this demographic ranked access to restaurants and cultural facilities as being important to them.
3. Empty-nester and retirement move.
Thirty percent of the 55-and-over demographic listed access to green space and nature as their top priority when they move. The size and type of housing was also important (29 percent), and nearly 20 percent said they wanted to be close to their jobs. Living in a neighborhood near family was also important (27 percent), as well as living in a safe area (at 17 percent).
"While some of us are inherent urbanites or suburbanites, our preferences change over the course of our lifetimes," says Florida. "Many young people may prefer big cities, with their vibrant job and dating markets and abundant amenities and things to do. Those with families prioritize bigger homes with better schools and more parks and green space. Ultimately, we look for the cities and neighborhoods that fit us best at the time."