Why is Durham ranked among the best cities in the US for Gen Z to purchase homes?

Durham was ranked the No. 7 best city in the United States for Gen Z to purchase homes by Point2Homes, an online real estate marketplace, because of its home-to-income ratios, convenient numbers of days on the market and lower unemployment rates. 

Point2 looked at housing markets in the 100 largest cities in the United States, and based its rankings on seven criteria: home price-to-income ratio, median sale price difference, inventory, share of homes sold above listing price, days on market, homeownership rate and unemployment rate. Major cities located in the South and Midwest fared best in the ranking.

In Durham, 55% of residents and 11.5% of Gen Z are homeowners. The city’s median household income is $75,000, close to the national average, and the unemployment rate for the Durham and Chapel Hill areas is about 3%, slightly lower than the national average of 3.7%. 

North Carolina saw success in its other locales as well. Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh and Winston-Salem were ranked at No. 27, No. 28, No. 43 and No. 44, respectively.

Despite Point2’s report, other real estate organizations paint a more pessimistic picture of the Durham housing market. 

According to Norada Real Estate, the average sales price for a house in Durham has increased 14.8% in 2023. As prices have increased, so has the supply of housing, with the inventory of homes for sale decreasing 26.1%.

In November 2023, INDY Week found that roughly 30% of households in Durham are struggling to afford their current living situation, with a 3,500-person waitlist for Durham Housing Authority units.  

Most new development in Durham is bought by non-residents, according to real estate developer Aaron Lubeck.

“The only thing that’s getting built is 100 percent out-of-town money, 100 percent big projects that are political and require lawyers and compliance officers and the kinds of things nobody local could do,” he told INDY Week.

The affordable housing crisis was addressed on the platforms of many of the candidates for Durham City Council during the 2023 elections.

Durham ranked below seven locations, all located in the South and Midwest: Fort Wayne, Ind.; Corpus Christi, Texas; Detroit, Laredo, Texas; Memphis, Tenn.; and Lincoln, Neb. 

Meanwhile, large cities on the East and West Coasts were ranked the lowest, including Richmond, Va., Boston, New York City and Fremont, Calif.

Zoe Spicer profile
Zoe Spicer | Enterprise Editor

Zoe Spicer is a Trinity senior and an enterprise editor of The Chronicle's 120th volume.

Abby Spiller profile
Abby Spiller | Editor-in-Chief

Abby Spiller is a Trinity junior and editor-in-chief of The Chronicle's 120th volume.


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