Although potential home buyers from the millennial generation, ages 18 to 34, generally prefer developments with a mixture of housing types and nearby shops and public transportation, according to a survey by the Urban Land Institute (ULI), it remains to be seen whether the trend will make it harder for baby boomers to sell their large suburban homes because millennials are entering their child-raising years. Trulia chief economist Jed Kolko says, “It’s very hard to image before you have kids what you will want when you have kids.” Even so, the differences between this generation and previous generations has Lynn Ross, executive director of ULI’s Terwilliger Center for Housing, certain that their preferences will change the housing market. The millennial generation is more racially and ethnic diverse and was hit harder by the recession than older adults. Many are having a hard time finding jobs or accessing credit, and their parents have been less able to assist them, especially if they experienced a foreclosure. According to Ross, “This generation has been through an incredibly difficult time, and I think it is ultimately going to operate very similarly to the generation that went through the Great Depression.” Kolko acknowledges the financial difficulties milliennials have experienced, noting declines in the homeownership rate, but he is not convinced that they are going to turn down suburban living altogether. “Gen Y may turn out to have unrealistic expectations about what they can afford, but that doesn’t mean they want something radically different,” he says. “It’s too soon to tell whether there is a permanent shift.” | Read More

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