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Yes, Millennials Really Do Live In The Burbs

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Though real estate pros keep saying that Millennials live in the suburbs, the greater population keeps being surprised. Panelists at Bisnow’s Dallas State of the Market testified that the suburbs attract the same residents as the central business district, and that is partly because the suburbs have gotten, well, cool. 

AP's Corbett Nichter, Granite's Bill Brown, Billingsley's Marijke Lantz, PegasusAblon's Michael Ablon, Hines' Drew Steffen, TCC Matt Enzler and Republic Title's Bo Feagin

“We’re seeing that hotness of Uptown move to Legacy,” Republic Title president Bo Feagin said. More people are talking about the burbs, and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae still offer good rates on projects that have a good story, such as value-add, Feagin said.

Fannie Mae goes beyond financing deals in the North Dallas suburbs to actually choosing it. Fannie Mae’s new 10-story, 300K SF office tower within Granite Park will beat its budget when it delivers later this year, Granite chief investment officer Bill Brown said. Granite has worked to elevate Granite Park in Plano to a lifestyle center with restaurant additions and amenities. 

Regardless of location within the Metroplex, this concierge-level lifestyle has become expected, Hines managing director Drew Steffen said. “We all want to live, work and shop in five-star hotels,” he said. Hines focuses on assets that are lifestyle-driven, such as One Victory Park and Victory Center in Victory Park.

And that demographic — the hip Millennial who has a cool job and wants to live within a whole ecosystem of real estate uses — lives in these suburban nodes, just like it lives in Uptown.

“You see the remarkable resemblance of what’s in Uptown in these suburban nodes,” PegasusAblon principal Mike Ablon said. 

Billingsley senior vice president Marijke Lantz and View's kyle smith

The leasing volume at new multifamily product in these nodes supports Ablon’s point. Despite so much supply delivering and in the pipeline, absorption remains strong, Trammell Crow Residential managing director Matt Enzler said.

“We’re still not building enough single and multifamily housing to keep up with household formation,” Enzler said.

Billingsley’s Cypress Waters is a good example. The master planned development already has 800 units on the ground, Billingsley is building another 500 units now, and another 500 units are planned, Billingsley senior vice president Marijke Lantz said. Pockets of multifamily development are popping up by office centers like Cypress Waters and CityLine, Lantz said.

PQR's Frost Gardner, PegasusAblon principal Mike Ablon and Page's Pete Winters
PQR's Frost Gardner, PegasusAblon principal Mike Ablon and Page's Pete Winters

These little epicenters are not all that different than the way retail formed a couple of decades ago, Ablon said. The race to the hottest intersections is already happening, and Ablon thinks it is fascinating. 

“This suburban conversation is very important over the next decade,” he said. “Where will [the hot intersections] be on the east side of Dallas and on the west side?”