Millennials swap city life for cheap old homes

American millennials are finding their cheap dream homes in far-flung places.

For Kate and Cameron Reinhart, that dream is this octagonal Victorian mansion in Norwich, Connecticut.

The 19th-century house, complete with stained glass and winding banisters, cost them just $85,000.

KATE: "We closed on the house the week that quarantine started"

CAMERON: "Yeah, April 1st."

KATE: "Which was really intimidating, but then after that, like we had the house at that point. We knew we had to move in."

The young couple plans to put another $100,000 into a massive renovation.

"This is eventually going to be like the master suite. So back this way, we've got a little bathroom area. We're going to have a tub out in the open under this window. I think we might build a small closet here, just for, so that it will officially be a bedroom."

And the Reinharts are not the only ones.

A growing number of young Americans are abandoning cities and flocking to the suburbs in search of older more affordable homes.

The trend is clear from visits to CheapOldHouses, a website promoting the purchase and preservation of historical houses.

The site’s Instagram followers have doubled every week since U.S. lockdowns began last March.

Elizabeth Finkelstein is the founder.

"The mantra of real estate has always been 'location, location, location.' And I think for the first time that's being flipped a little bit on its head. We are living in a time when people are willing to kind of take risks. maybe risks that they've been wanting to take their whole life but were tied to an expensive city for their job or for a host of other reasons.”

Around 70,000 people left the New York metropolitan region in 2020.

That resulted in roughly $34 billion in lost income, according to location analytics provider Unacast, and Finkelstein expects the trends to last well beyond the year.

“Now with so many offices going remote, people have more opportunity to just say, 'Maybe I don't need to be paying more than half my income in rent."