Here’s Where Dayton Ranks Among Millennial Home Buyers

Jul 23, 2019 | News, Newsletter

Dayton Business Journal



Dayton is one of the top cities in the country for millennial home buyers, according to a new study.

The study, published by Clever Real Estate, ranks the Gem City No. 4 out of the 100 most populated cities in the U.S.

This represents good news for the region, which is actively trying to recruit more people to the Miami Valley. The millennial population — those currently between 23 and 38 years old — are becoming the largest working sector in the country, so being a top place for buying a home could raise Dayton’s visibility among that group.

For Dona Niswonger, board president of the Home Builders Association of Dayton, the economic reports and housing trend studies have shown that the housing market should continue to rise.

“Like many areas of our country, the Miami Valley has a shortage of homes for sale compared to the number of people looking to purchase a home,” Niswonger said. “When we have markets like this, the demand causes the price to increase. Couple this with the lower interest rates available and the variety of mortgage loan options, the housing market should continue to thrive in our area.”

Niswonger has observed many millennials in Dayton are prioritizing good amenities over the size of homes.

“The clients I have worked with have been purchasing smaller homes with a lot of amenities or homes needing a makeover,” she said. “They do the updating to accommodate their needs and style.”

The online platform that connects homeowners with top-rated real estate agents evaluated 12 metrics across four categories to determine the best cities for millennial home buyers:

  • Job opportunity: A measure of income, wage growth and unemployment
  • Home affordability: A measure of home values and price-to-income ratios
  • Livability: A measure of multiple factors millennials care about, such as commute times, crime rates and education levels
  • Housing market forecast: A measure of how home values will appreciate over the next 12 months


The study gave livability and home affordability more weight than job opportunity and housing market forecast, because it wanted to prioritize places that are both affordable and fun to live in.

Dayton scored extremely high on the affordability index with a rating of 98, giving it the highest score among the top 20 cities.

“Affordability is definitely the biggest appeal Dayton has,” said Lauren White, director of UpDayton, which seeks to attract and retain talent in the region. “I hear about the excitement of affordability from so many people who move to the area that once spent the same amount for a bedroom in a shared house.”

In terms of livability, Dayton had a score of 59, putting it at no. 11 out of the top 20. A large factor that plays into the city’s livability for millennials is diversity and inclusion, White said.

“There is a strong desire for grassroots culture to have a place of diverse expression and dialogue,” she said. “This can be difficult with gatekeepers who are more risk-averted and institutionalized, but I see an opportunity to enhance existing spaces for multiple use scenarios.”

In addition to Dayton, Ohio had three other cities in the top 10: Akron at No. 7, Columbus at No. 8 and Cincinnati at No. 10. 

The worst city for millennial home buyers was Los Angeles, which scored a 3 on the home affordability index. Seven out of 10 of the bottom-ranked cities were in California, with the remaining three cities located in Nevada, Florida and Washington. L.A also scored low in livability due to poor air quality and high commute times, although the same cities tended to have thriving job markets.

“It’s great to live in Dayton and travel to those locations on the coasts,” White said. “If our Dayton employers adopt flexible HR policies with unlimited vacation and remote working, talent will be able to have the best of both worlds in calling Dayton home while enjoying travel.”

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