Government & Politics

Where are millennials buying houses in the U.S.? Olathe is top, Overland Park up there

There are a few advantages to a delay in spring weather. Who wants to go swimsuit shopping when there's snow falling?
There are a few advantages to a delay in spring weather. Who wants to go swimsuit shopping when there's snow falling? File photo

The city of Olathe in Johnson County gets the No. 1 ranking in the country from a financial technology company that looked at where millennials are buying homes.

And Overland Park came in 11th in the same ranking by SmartAsset, a New York-based company that offers tools for people to make smart decisions on home buying, taxes and other personal finance decisions.

Olathe ranked just ahead of Chesapeake, Va.; Bakersfield, Ca.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Anchorage, Alaska. The study looked at 200 large cities, but found that no big city was in the top 10, probably because of high housing prices. The rankings took into account 2016 data on the percent of millennials, those under age 35, who own their homes in each city. It also looked at the percent change in millennial homeownership from 2007-2016, using Census Bureau information.

Olathe had 45.6 percent homeownership among millennials in 2007 and 50.43 percent in 2016, for a change of nearly 5 percent. Taking both those factors into account, it got the top ranking.

Overland Park tied with Lakewood, Co., for the 11th ranking. The study found Overland Park had 29.58 percent millennial homeownership in 2007 and 31.43 percent in 2016.

Erin Vader, a spokeswoman for the city of Olathe, said the city is pleased with this recognition, although she noted that countless rankings of cities are posted online, and the city is still trying to determine just how the numbers were crunched.

“Certainly, it’s very exciting for the city that millennials are finding Olathe a desirable place to live,” Vader said. “Our mission is to have a housing inventory that caters to up-and-coming millennials all the way to retirees.”

Within the Kansas City metro area, there’s considerable debate about whether millennials prefer to buy or rent in the suburbs or the urban center of Kansas City. Studies suggest different preferences.

One recent small sample housing survey by real estate marketing firm Highline Partners found that Kansas City area millennials want houses with yards and are attracted to places like Fairway, Prairie Village and North Kansas City.

But the Downtown Council said in a recent report that downtown Kansas City is attractive to young people, especially those who don’t have kids.

Lynn Horsley: 816-226-2058, @LynnHorsley