Millennials Are Flocking To Cheap Rust Belt Cities
Educated, but poor, millennials are transforming neighborhoods in several Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin in search for affordable communities.
Since the end of the American high (the late 1960s), the Rust Belt had experienced decades of deindustrialization and a mass exodus of residents. Manufacturing plants closed down, jobs disappeared, and communities disintegrated, as this once vibrant region is now a symbol of decay and opioids.
However, this trend has reversed in recent years, as some millennials have abandoned big cities for Rust Belt communities, in hopes to catch the falling knife and invest in real estate that could be near its lows.
It is a massive risk, and the narrative behind this "attractive investment bet" are affordable communities, unlike the Washington Metropolitan Area, San Francisco, New York, San Diego County, and Boston.
Yet this revitalization of the Rust Belt economy could not have come at the worse time: Last week, Bank of America rang the proverbial bell on the US real estate market, saying existing home sales have peaked, reflecting declining affordability, greater price reductions and deteriorating housing sentiment.
While it is difficult to say what exactly happens in Rust Belt communities in the next downturn, one should understand that housing prices in these regions will probably stay depressed for the foreseeable future. So, if the millennial who was hoping for a Bitcoin-style like move, they should think again as investing in Rust Belt communities is a long-term strategy.
Constantine Valhouli, Director of Research for the real estate research and analytics firm NeighborhoodX, told CNBC that millennials are flocking to these areas not just for home ownership, but rather rebuilding these communities from the bottom up.
"It is about having roots and contributing to the revival of a place that needs businesses that create jobs and create value."
According to Paul Boomsma, president and CEO of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World (LeadingRE), some of these formerly blighted towns are gradually coming back to life. The latest influx of millennials view these regions as financial opportunities and places to construct new economies - especially with real estate prices far below the Case–Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index.