Where do Americans want to live?
A report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) finds a strong influence from the
U.S.â€™s growing demographic groups â€“ Generation Y, African Americans and
An overall view of the survey suggests that demand will continue
to rise for infill residential development that is less car-dependent, while
demand could wane for isolated development in outlying suburbs. Among all
respondents, 61 percent said they would prefer a smaller home with a shorter
commute to a larger home with longer commute. Fifty-three percent want to live
close to shopping; 52 percent would prefer to live in mixed-income housing and
51 percent prefer access to public transportation.
Of the three major generations in the report (Gen Y, Gen X and
Baby Boomers), Gen Y â€“ the largest generation, the most racially and ethnically
diverse, and the one not yet fully immersed in the housing and jobs market â€“ is
the generation likely to have the most profound impact on land
Fifty-nine percent of Gen Y said they prefer diversity in housing;
62 percent want a mix of shopping, dining and office space; and 76 percent place
high value on walkability.
Sixty-three percent of the Gen Y respondents
plan to move in the next five years, along with 63 percent of African Americans,
54 percent of Latinos, and 56 percent of those currently living in a large
The preferences of Gen Y are similar to those of people of color
across all the generations. These different demographic cohorts are all growing
in number, and together are creating a significant market shift toward compact,
mixed-use development close to transit.
Seventy-five percent of African Americans indicated a
preference for mixed-use developments; 63 percent prefer mixed-income
communities; and 56 percent prefer a mix of housing types. Seventy-seven percent
desire access to public transit. Nearly half (47 percent) African Americans
surveyed are part of Gen Y.
percent of Latinos prefer to live in a mixed-use community; 48 percent prefer
mixed-income communities; and 50 percent prefer a mix of housing. More than half
(54 percent) of Latinos surveyed are Gen Yers.
â€œWeâ€™ve entered an era in
land use that will be defined by development that conserves land and energy, and
which offers consumers plenty of options in where they live and how they get
from one place to another,â€ says ULI Chief Executive Officer Patrick L.
Other survey findings
â€¢ In general, the lure of
homeownership remains strong: Seventy-one percent of respondents said buying a
home is a good investment despite the housing crisis and price
â€¢ The quality of public transit is acceptable where itâ€™s
available: Of those with access to buses and trains, 75 percent rate the quality
as satisfactory. However, half of those with no access to buses and trains were
dissatisfied by this situation. Fifty-two percent of the population said that
convenient public transportation was important to them.
â€¢ Safety and
high-quality schools top the list of most sought-after community attributes:
Ninety-two percent of all respondents ranked neighborhood safety as the most
important attribute; good schools ranked as the second highest (79
â€¢ In seemingly contradictory responses, 72 percent of the
survey participants said having space between neighbors is a priority; yet 71
percent placed a high value on being close to employment, schools and healthcare
facilities; 70 percent rated walkability as a key attribute.
Seventy-seven percent of the respondents reported using a car, truck or
motorcycle nearly every day. However, 22 percent said they walk to a destination
almost daily, and 6 percent said they take public transit.