From the Star Ledger:
Want to be on the cutting edge of the hot new trend in housing?
It may be time to take a second look at the suburbs.
After bleeding population for the better part of a decade, northern New Jersey’s suburbs appear to be swinging back into favor, new Census data shows.
That’s right, those places with garages and yards once seen as so uncool might be on the rebound as Millennials begin seeking greener pastures.
Hunterdon, Monmouth and Hudson saw their year-over-year population losses slow or halt between 2016 and 2017, while more urbanized counties like Hudson and Union experienced significant slowdowns in their recent breakneck growth.
“It could be a blip in the data, but we were quite surprised,” said James Hughes, dean emeritus of Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.
While one year doesn’t make a trend, Hughes, who has been studying the flight from the suburbs since 2014, said it’s worth noting that housing prices in urbanized counties have skyrocketed with the demand of recent years.
That might be sending young people looking elsewhere for more affordable living, especially as they begin to think about growing their families.
“It could be that they’re going to follow the same pattern of previous generations,” Hughes said.
Hughes said there will be challenges for both urban and suburban communities in the years moving forward. Popular urban centers like Jersey City have soaring housing prices and low-ranked schools.
Meanwhile, suburban towns built out in the sprawl of the 1980s and 1990s have no central downtown, have an abundance of antiquated office space and no immediate access to public transit.
“Everything is in flux,” he said. “We’re destroying jobs and creating new ones at the same time. But there can be some pretty quick adaptations that towns can make.”