RealtyTrac Heat Map Reveals Where Millennials and Baby Boomers Are Going

Zoom in close enough and you'll see where Philly stands among the changing population.

RealtyTrac heatmap showing where the largest shift in millennial population is occuring.

RealtyTrac heatmap showing where the largest shift in millennial population is occuring.

Which counties are seeing an influx of millennials? Which are seeing rapid emigration? And where the heck are baby boomers going? RealtyTrac’s latest report answers these and other questions after analyzing Census population data in over 1,800 counties between 2007 and 2013.

In addition to using the Census data to track each generation’s migration patters, the study used rental rates and median prices to see what prompted millennials and baby boomers to go certain places and not others. (For the record, RealtyTrac defines baby boomers as people born between the years 1945 and 1964, and millennials as those born between 1977 and 1992.)

Here’s what the real estate website found in its analysis:

“The millennial generation is the key to a sustained real estate recovery and boomers who are downsizing are helping open the door for many first time homebuyers while also driving demand for purchases and rentals in the markets where they are moving,” said Daren Blomquist, Vice President of RealtyTrac. “Naturally, millennials are attracted to markets with good job prospects and low unemployment but that tend to have high rental rates and high home price appreciation, while boomers are moving to lower populated areas which have slower home price appreciation.”

Among the top ten counties millennials flocked to were Arlington County and Alexandria City in Virgina, both of which are in the DC metro area and have “a favorable unemployment rate of 3.2 percent and 3.6 percent respectively, well below the national average.” Others included one in the New Orleans metro area, San Francisco County, CA; Denver County, CO; and Montgomery County, TN.

Boomers, meanwhile, were observed moving to places with lower prices because, as First Team Real Estate’s senior VP of sales put it, “boomers are recovering from a recession that wiped out much of the equity in both the stock and housing markets.”

Markets that saw a boom in boomers were Brunswick County in North Carolina (within the Wilmington metro area, which had a median home price “well below the national average at $115,000” at the time RealtyTrac was conducting their investigation), Pinal County in Arizona (Phoenix metro), Charlotte County, Fla. and Beaufort County, S.C.

As for Philadelphia? The zoomable heat map, which can be adjusted to show millennial and baby boomer population changes, shows the city had over a 10 percent increase in those born after 1977: