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Today, millennials ages 24-34 live at home more than at any time in the last decade, according to a recent Zillow analysis. Over the past year, rents increased almost 3%, while incomes increased far less at just 1.8%. So it’s no wonder millennials are struggling to find affordable housing; little inventory is within budget.
Where can millennials afford to live alone? Rental affordability is highest in cities such as Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh and Virginia Beach, where millennials can afford at least 17% of the available inventory. Even though that number is high for living in a major metro on the median income of a young adult, few millennials are risking the independent lifestyle. In fact, just 9% of millennials nationwide go it alone.
In cities like Austin, TX and Richmond, VA, annual employment growth is up by 4-5%. Such strong labor markets that pay higher wages provide some sense of stability for millennials considering solo living. Richmond tops Zillow’s list of locations where millennials are successfully living alone, thanks to its high employment growth and median yearly income of $49,500. In Richmond, millennials can afford 15% of all rentals and sleep soundly knowing their jobs are safe.
The list is based on the percentage of millennials living alone in each city, the median income value for millennials, the number of affordable homes and year-over-year employment growth.
If you’re a millennial thinking about stepping out on your own, you may find comfort in risking independence where others also find success. Any one of these top 10 spots would be great starting points.