Millennials are a driving force making many of the anticipated COVID-19-related migration trends a reality, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors. In particular, families with young children are fueling an increased interest in larger homes with more outdoor space.

NAR generally conducts its Community and Transportation Preference Survey every two years. However, in order to accurately gauge the impact of COVID-19, the organization conducted the survey twice this year, in February and July. The latest iteration shows younger Americans – particularly those with children – have been most affected by the pandemic.

“NAR has conducted community preference surveys for over 20 years, providing realtors and their communities with decades of information regarding changing American lifestyles and migration trends,” said NAR President Vince Malta. “In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, this data has become even more consequential, helping local communities and realtor association implement various smart growth changes to account for these shifts.”

According to the survey, Americans under 40 – millennials and Gen-Y – are most likely to say that their overall quality of life has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. They also reported a reduced need to live near highways, public transit or their place of work.

Other findings of the July survey include:

  • Families with children in school showed increased desire for detached homes and larger yards. In February, a smaller yard in a walkable community was the ideal for most respondents
  • The importance of ease of access to public transit and highways dropped 8% and 5%, respectively, from pre-pandemic levels
  • Respondents older than 55 and those with higher incomes reported an increased interest in walkability
  • Respondents in highly walkable communities showed an 8% increase in quality of life