• Millennials are moving to suburbs like Arlington in search of 'hipsturbia'

    By: Bob Dumas

    Updated:

    A recent forecast of real estate trends revealed a renewed interest in certain suburbs.   

    Flourishing communities appeal to millennials because someone can live, work, and play pretty much in the same place. Cities and towns that meet that criteria often get a new name: Hipsturbia.

    In Arlington Center, Starbucks sits right next to a yoga studio which is just a short walk across Massachusetts Avenue to the Legacy Luxury Apartments.

    "We definitely see a lot more young families moving to the area,” said Elise Kerrigan, manager at Body & Brain Yoga and Tai Chi, and she's noticed more people stopping in and walking by.

    Suburbs like Arlington are getting a second look from millennials, and mortgage data from realtor.com shows that communities like Quincy, Somerville, and Malden are also hot areas.

    Mark Melnik, director of economic and public policy research at the UMass Donahue Institute, said there's strong interest in downtown areas with character. "Maybe they don't want to be their parents, but there are these elements of how to have both things at the same time.”

    The Urban Land Institute recently called “Hipsturbia,” a community near a city that has decent mass transit, its own cultural attractions and is diverse," one of the hottest real estate trends for 2020.

    "It’s a little different version of the suburbs than what people were thinking of,” said Melnik.

     Allison Carter, Arlington’s economic coordinator, noted that Arlington has three walkable business districts: “If you live in East Arlington, you have a movie theater, restaurants, art galleries, local retailers -- all right out your front door.”

    Carter said that while the idea of “hipsturbia” is creating more pressure on housing prices, it does add vitality to the community. "There are pros and cons depending on how you view it. In one way, it kind of changes the demographic for the business owners," and as businesses turn over, she said, they become yoga studios or juice bars instead of barbershops and retailers.

    The term actually dates back to 2013, when the New York Times used it to refer to Brooklyn, which had become a popular, and cheaper, alternative to Manhattan.

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