These millennials left big cities for peace and quiet. Now they're filled with regret.
- From 2020 to 2021, 85% of homebuyers aged 31 to 40 bought either in a suburb or a small town.
- Many of these movers left big cities for less costly homes but found it wasn't worth the trade-off.
Zachary Thacher left New York City in 2020 to take up organic farming at his friend's farm. Thacher, who told the New York Post that he thought he'd never come back to the city, lasted only four-and-½ months.
"I missed the diversity and my Jewish community," he said.
Thacher isn't alone: Many people who seized the opportunity remote work presented to leave behind the costly housing and lifestyles of cities in exchange for cheaper real estate and a more bucolic life elsewhere are now rethinking their decisions. Many regret leaving behind the social and professional groups they cultivated and feel removed from their hobbies.
Millennials appear to particularly regret leaving big cities. In 2021, millennials left cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago at a faster clip than Gen Xers and boomers, according to US Census data analyzed by the home-improvement site Today's Homeowner. On top of that, from 2020 to 2021, 85% of homebuyers between the ages of 31 and 40 — squarely within the millennial age range of 25 to 44 — purchased homes in suburban or rural areas, according to data from the National Association of Realtors.
The cheaper housing many sought out when leaving cities wasn't worth the trade-off. Alex Gatien, 38, left Toronto in May 2021 for a quiet town 270 miles east. He and his partner purchased a four-bedroom Victorian home with a large yard for less than the cost of a studio in Toronto.
He appreciates the lower cost of living, but laments what he gave up in the move.
"People live in a much more private realm," Gatien previously told BI. "Everyone drives everywhere, which means you don't really run into people. They don't really use public spaces like parks unless they don't have their own outdoor space, which everyone does unless they're poor."
Have you moved out of a city and regret it? We want to hear from you. Reach out to reporter Jordan Pandy, at email@example.com, with your story.
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