SF ULI report-compressed Photo: Nick Falbo/Flickr

A new report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) has revealed that 74 percent of Millennials living in the Bay Area are considering moving in the next five years due to high cost housing and quality of life concerns.

In a press release accompanying the report, the non-profit education and research organization plainly stated that “[t]he findings of Bay Area in 2015 should serve as a wake-up call — not just for the region’s technology industry with its Millennial-heavy employment base — but for how San Francisco grows for the future.”

“Millennials make up the largest, most diverse generation in our history, and they will have an enormous impact on the success of our cities,” said ULI Global Chief Executive Officer Patrick L. Phillips in the release.

When assembling the report, ULI surveyed Millennials in the Greater Bay Area, which includes the North Bay (Solano, Napa, and Sonoma counties), Five-County Bay Area (San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin and San Mateo counties) and South Bay (Santa Clara county). One third of the 701 survey subjects were located in the South Bay Area, which has the largest number of Millennial residents. Millennials make up 37 percent of the existing population in the South Bay. By comparison, Millennials make up 32 percent of the existing population in the Five-County Bay Area.

Environment, healthy food and walkability were the top three priorities of Millennials surveyed in the Greater Bay Area by ULI.

The report highlighted several findings including:

  • 74 percent of Greater Bay Area residents were “satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with range of housing choices, as opposed to the national average at 81 percent.
  • 33 percent of South Bay residents are not satisfied with local housing options.
  • 34 percent of Millennials reside in apartments and plan to live in apartments for the next five years.
  • Only 40 percent of Greater Bay Area residents are confident in their ability to afford their desired home in the next five years, 14 percent below the national average.
  • 68 percent of Greater Bay Area residents places walkability as a top priority, 18 percent above the national average.
  • 62 percent of South Bay residents want more bike lanes.
  • 50 percent Greater Bay Area residents placed convenient transportation as a top or high priority. In the Five-County Area,
  • 56 percent placed it as a top or high priority. The national average is 32 percent.
  • A whopping 78 percent of Greater Bay Area residents surveyed placed availability of healthy food as a high or top priority.

ULI Bay Area Image: ULI Bay Area 2015 Report

The report explains that each subregion has different priorities. The North Bay has a high concentration of homeowners and Baby Boomers and the lowest proportion of Millennials. The Five-County Area has the highest quality of life and alternative modes of transportation and infrastructure are more important. It is also the most racially diverse subregion with the highest population proportion of Asians. Meanwhile, the South Bay has the highest concentration of Millennials and Latinos.

Millennials set their goals high with regard to home ownership and, according to the report, “lack confidence in their ability to afford the home or apartment they want in the next five years.” Members of older generations who are established home owners had a higher degree of confidence.

“San Francisco needs to consider the how declining housing affordability is affecting the high quality of life it is seeking to provide for all residents, including this powerful group,” said ULI’s Phillips, targeting the City of San Francisco directly.

Phillips further explained that San Francisco will need to place an emphasis on providing a housing mix for diverse populations and income, building more apartments, cultivating an auto-optional community while investing more in health, improving access to public transit and creating more walkable and bicycle-oriented infrastructure.

For a copy of the full ULI report click here.

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