The hottest places for millennials to live in the Valley in 2020

If there’s one thing about millennials, they don’t like being lumped into a particular category.

And that’s true for where they want to live. Many are taking their first steps toward home ownership on the outer fringes of the Valley, while others are happy renting in a lock-and-leave lifestyle in downtown, core areas.

A new study by Niche showing the best places for young professionals to live in 2020 solidifies that concept.

Young professionals are spread out all over the Valley — from Phoenix, to Tempe to Scottsdale, where there’s plenty of entertainment venues to keep them busy, at least, when the pandemic subsides.

Scottsdale and Tempe received an A on the Niche young professionals ranking, outperforming Phoenix, which received an A- for the past four years.

The larger California cities — such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego — still rank higher than Phoenix in this particular grade, said Adam Kurstin, senior data analyst for Niche.

The young professionals ranking relies heavily on a few factors, including the percentage of young residents in a certain area, higher educational status attained and a concentration of amenities.

“In some of these factors, competing cities in California still hold the edge when all is said and done,” Kurstin said. “That doesn’t mean that Phoenix might not shine in some specific factors that may spell a bright future for the region in attracting young professionals.”

Jessica Morin, director of market analytics for CoStar Group in Phoenix, said dense and dynamic neighborhoods near their employers — like downtown Phoenix, Tempe and Old Town Scottsdale — are hot spots for young professionals.

“But since the pandemic, we have seen a shift from urban to suburban,” she said. “Renters were willing to pay $200 to $500 month premium to live in highly amenitized and walkable mixed-use areas of Phoenix.”

But the allure has faded somewhat during this period of social distancing and remote work, she said.

“Since March, availabilities have tightened in the suburbs and are much higher in urban submarkets,” Morin said. “As a result, areas in the West and East Valleys are outperforming their urban counterparts — at least for now.”

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