About Our Columnist

Carrie Rossenfeld

Carrie Rossenfeld is a reporter for the West Coast region of GlobeSt.com and Real Estate Forum. She was a trade-magazine and newsletter editor in New York City before moving to Southern California to become a freelance writer and editor for magazines, books and websites. Rossenfeld has written extensively on topics including commercial real estate, running a medical practice, intellectual-property licensing and giftware. She has edited books about profiting from real estate and has ghostwritten a book about starting a home-based business.

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Brian Judd's comment really hits the nail on the head. The oldest Millennials are now in their early 30's and having babies. Downtowns will always be most vibrant and attractive to those who have not yet had children, and those who have become empty-nesters.
Posted by Judith Brower Fancher | Wednesday, July 16 2014 at 1:36PM ET
Not so fast - Suburbia is aging and having to deal with inadequate and crumbling infrastructure much like most major cities. The cost advantages enjoyed by suburbia are likely to evaporate leveling the playing ground for cities. While more house may be had for less in suburbia, the trade-off of higher property taxes, the need for two vehicles and the time lost to commuting on congested roadways could easily be outweighed by more modest quarters in a walkable community well served by public transit and other services. Often rent vs. buy scenarios neglect to include maintenance reserves, and taxes plus the responsibility associated with active monitoring of systems, etc. that don't come into play with rental housing.
Posted by Chris_Terlizzi | Wednesday, July 16 2014 at 4:57PM ET
Thank you Judith Brower Fancher and Chris Terlizzi for saying exactly what I was about to say. I am 24 years old and if I were 30+ right now I would begrudgingly buy a house in the suburbs as well. There is no question that suburbs in the LA, Chicago, NYC, and many other metro areas corner the market on public schools, yard and park space, and safety. That being said, it's likely 20+ years before my children are in high school, and in that time the public school and safety situations could easily change. There are already good elementary schools and middle schools in Chicago, and I see the trend continuing in the right districts. I worry like Chris about the cost of suburban infrastructure; once the water mains and roads need to be fully replaced for the second time in now-infill post-war suburbs we will see the true cost of low-density building.

I might also add that the question was phrased horribly. I voted for the plurality opinion because it's so difficult to vote for "the data is flawed". But the data is flawed among a younger cohort (ages under 28 at least)! Many millennials who grew up in the suburbs are discovering the joys of urban living as well, so this is really just a whole exercise in how to phrase questions so that suburbia appears glorified. Seeing as though the millenial generation runs through those who were born in 2000, I expect to see record young demographics living in cities in less than 10 years.
Posted by Dan V | Thursday, July 17 2014 at 5:09PM ET