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Why more Millennials are buying homes in Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. -- Garrett Sawyer is embracing the American dream. The 30-year-old Richmond man said for him, buying a home just made sense.

"When you really looked at the market, rent was going up so high. I mean I went from paying $1200 at my town home to going up to almost $1,500 within one year," he said.

Sawyer is part of a larger trend of Millennials, generally defined as people born in the 1980s thru mid-1990s, owning their own home.

Housing experts anticipate this generation will likely flood the housing market.

"More and more Millennials are actually purchasing homes, than choosing to continue as renters," Smitty Smith, with River City Blues Realty, said.

Smith said nearly 50 percent of Richmond's homeowners are Millennials.

"It's an investment, you know. They tend to not tie into that 'I'm going to own a home in 30 years.' They tend to stay in a home five to seven years with the intention of reselling it to earn a profit to take them to their next home," Smith said.

He said younger consumers are buying homes all over Richmond -- including Richmond's Highland Park neighborhood at the old Matthew Heights apartment complex. A complex, once known for crime, was demolished seven years ago. The Matthews at Chestnut Hills community rose in its place.

"There are developers and construction firms that are specifically building homes for Millennials. And there is free grant money and loan assistance available," Smith said.