■ By THYDA DUONG Long Beach Business Journal F or homebuyers in search of the perfect location, it’s not just about finding the right space, but also a sense of place. For many, that means a sense of connectivity to not only one’s home, but also one’s community. According to the 2017 National Association of Realtors Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report, the three most important factors to home- buyers when choosing a neighborhood are quality of the neighborhood, con- venience to their job, and overall home affordability – the latter two being the most important for buyers younger than 36 years old (often referred to as Millennials and Generation Y). Over the past four years, the largest generational group of homebuyers has been individuals 36 years old and younger, the report notes. This population, of which 66% were also first-time homebuyers, comprised 34% of the buyers’ market, followed by buyers 37 to 51 years old (commonly referred to as Gen- eration X) who made up 28% of recent homebuyers. The Long Beach Business Journal spoke with local housing industry experts and researchers about homebuyer preferences with regard to location for a more detailed look at the factors that influence home purchases. G. U. Krueger Principal and Founder of Krueger Economics LBBJ: What are the most important factors to homebuyers when choos- ing where they want to live? How important is the concept of connectivity to the community? Krueger: In an urban en- vironment, the main issues are crime – it has to be an area where the crime rate is relatively low – and school scores. There are, of course, wide differences among different cities and communities. Another point of attrac- tion is related to this issue of connectivity. There are several aspects to consider. One is if you’re close to jobs. How far do you have to travel? How long does it take to get to your workplace and then back home? The other consideration is the local connectivity of the community. Is there shopping around? Are there restaurants? Are there any other ameni- ties like museums and cultural institutions? And then there’s the internal connectivity within a community that one builds. Does it have nice windows? Is it attractive in terms of the ambiance and how it looks? Then the last one is, of course, the home itself. Do the houses that are available signify this general connectivity? Do they have a nice floor plan? Are they conducive to multi-generational housing? What’s the style of the interior? And what audience is being targeted? LBBJ: How do these preferences impact where homebuyers choose to live? How are homebuyers expressing these preferences? Krueger: The evidence is increasing lately that a surprising number of people, especially younger people, want to be within an urban setting be- cause of the concept of connectivity. . . . In California, Millennials want to be close to where their careers are tak- ing place. That has resulted in a prefer- ence – for some, not for all of them – to live in an urban environment. They have been mostly moving into apart- ments, but more and more are now be- coming attracted to “for-sale” housing. So, supply and demand are helping to create this really interesting new para- digm. First of all, that urban living, or in-town living, is acceptable and desir- able because there’s just much better product available there in the for-sale housing space. LBBJ: Are these preferences considered trends or are they the new norm? Krueger: It’s not necessarily becoming the norm, but there’s clearly a trend that is moving in that direction. . . . You see this very interesting pattern of people 20 20 Space And Place: Community Is Key For Homebuyers “The other consideration is the local connectivity of the community. Is there shopping around? Are there restaurants? Are there any other amenities like museums and cultural institutions?” G. U. Krueger, Principal and Founder Krueger Economics (Please Continue To Page 22) Proximity to diverse dining options is one of many benefits of living in town. 2017_18Pages_OlsonCopy_PortAnniversary 12/22/17 11:31 AM Page 20