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Top 50 Cities for Millennial and Generation Z Veteran Homebuyers

Millennial and Generation Z Veterans helped drive the VA loan program to a record year. See which cities led the way in Veteran homebuying and experienced the biggest year-over-year gains.

The historic VA loan program had its biggest year ever in Fiscal Year 2020. Millennial and Generation Z Veterans played a big part in driving that record growth.

The VA backed 1,246,815 loans in FY20, the most in the program's 76-year history and the first time it's ever guaranteed more than 1 million loans. With interest rates hovering at modern lows for most of the year, refinance loans surged for all age demographics.

But when it came to buying homes, younger Veterans led the way.

Millennial and Generation Z Veterans accounted for 50 percent of all VA purchase loans in FY20. While total VA purchase loans were up about 11 percent year-over-year, VA purchase lending to Millennials jumped 19 percent, according to government data. The VA's fiscal year runs from October through September.

Because of their VA loan benefit, Millennial Veterans have been ahead of the homebuying curve compared to their civilian counterparts. VA loans allow qualified buyers to purchase with no down payment, no mortgage insurance and more flexible credit guidelines. Plus, many younger Veterans don't face the same student loan debt that younger civilians face.

These younger Veterans and service members have emerged as a critical economic force in communities across the country.

Metro Area Takeaways

  • Virginia Beach had the largest overall number of VA purchase loans Millennial and Generation Z buyers (8,532), followed by Washington, D.C. (6,970), San Antonio (4,919), Dallas-Fort Worth (4,791) and Colorado Springs (4,770).
  • The Top 5 cities were nearly unchanged from FY19, with Dallas and Colorado Springs swapping places.
  • Of the Top 50 cities for most VA purchase loans for Millennials and Generation Z buyers, Sacramento saw the biggest year-over-year gain (33.5 percent), followed by Fayetteville, N.C. (33 percent), San Diego (32.9 percent), Denver (32 percent) and Riverside, Calif (31.9 percent).
  • Twenty-four metro areas experienced VA purchase loan growth of at least 25 percent year-over-year
  • Four states had at least four metro areas represented on the list: Texas and Florida (six MSAs) each, North Carolina (five MSAs) and California (four MSAs).

Top 50 Cities By Purchase Loans for Millennial & Gen Z Buyers

MSA FY 19 Number of Loans FY 20 Number of Loans % Difference
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSA 6,737 8,532 26.64%
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV MSA 5,415 6,970 28.72%
San Antonio, TX MSA 3,946 4,919 24.66%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX MSA 3,714 4,791 29.00%
Colorado Springs, CO MSA 3,715 4,770 28.40%
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA MSA 3,286 4,368 32.93%
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ MSA 3,070 3,928 27.95%
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX MSA 2,740 3,433 25.29%
Jacksonville, FL MSA 2,623 3,297 25.70%
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA MSA 2,471 3,260 31.93%
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA MSA 2,529 3,138 24.08%
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA MSA 2,527 3,130 23.86%
Jacksonville, NC MSA 2,501 3,034 21.31%
Fayetteville, NC MSA 2,218 2,951 33.05%
Clarksville, TN-KY MSA 2,296 2,859 24.52%
Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, TX MSA 2,219 2,786 25.55%
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 2,295 2,666 16.17%
Baltimore-Towson, MD MSA 1,989 2,536 27.50%
Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI MSA 1,950 2,473 26.82%
Las Vegas-Paradise, NV MSA 2,025 2,466 21.78%
Denver-Aurora, CO MSA 1,750 2,312 32.11%
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL MSA 1,562 1,982 26.89%
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA 1,689 1,952 15.57%
Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin, FL MSA 1,578 1,917 21.48%
Oklahoma City, OK MSA 1,561 1,843 18.07%
St. Louis, MO-IL MSA 1,522 1,840 20.89%
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA MSA 1,374 1,718 25.04%
Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC MSA 1,452 1,685 16.05%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA MSA 1,297 1,667 28.53%
Honolulu, HI MSA 1,314 1,651 25.65%
El Paso, TX MSA 1,237 1,629 31.69%
Austin-Round Rock, TX MSA 1,246 1,602 28.57%
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI MSA 1,444 1,594 10.39%
Charleston-North Charleston, SC MSA 1,350 1,565 15.93%
Kansas City, MO-KS MSA 1,261 1,413 12.05%
Tucson, AZ MSA 1,068 1,407 31.74%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL MSA 1,068 1,300 21.72%
Columbia, SC MSA 1,024 1,271 24.12%
Orlando-Kissimmee, FL MSA 1,038 1,270 22.35%
Olympia, WA MSA 1,064 1,265 18.89%
Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN MSA 989 1,252 26.59%
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA MSA 1,004 1,236 23.11%
Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, CA MSA 924 1,234 33.55%
Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA MSA 1,027 1,224 19.18%
Savannah, GA MSA 976 1,173 20.18%
Raleigh-Cary, NC MSA 902 1,169 29.60%
Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC MSA 951 1,164 22.40%
Indianapolis-Carmel, IN MSA 947 1,158 22.28%
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH MSA 948 1,123 18.46%
Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI MSA 995 1,113 11.86%

Top 50 Cities for VA Loan Growth in Millennial & Gen Z Buyers

MSA FY 19 Number of Loans FY 20 Number of Loans % Difference
MSA Name FY19 Number of Loans FY19 Number of Loans % Difference
Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, CA MSA 924 1,234 33.55%
Fayetteville, NC MSA 2,218 2,951 33.05%
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA MSA 3,286 4,368 32.93%
Denver-Aurora, CO MSA 1,750 2,312 32.11%
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA MSA 2,471 3,260 31.93%
Tucson, AZ MSA 1,068 1,407 31.74%
El Paso, TX MSA 1,237 1,629 31.69%
Raleigh-Cary, NC MSA 902 1,169 29.60%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX MSA 3,714 4,791 29.00%
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV MSA 5,415 6,970 28.72%
Austin-Round Rock, TX MSA 1,246 1,602 28.57%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA MSA 1,297 1,667 28.53%
Colorado Springs, CO MSA 3,715 4,770 28.40%
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ MSA 3,070 3,928 27.95%
Baltimore-Towson, MD MSA 1,989 2,536 27.50%
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL MSA 1,562 1,982 26.89%
Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI MSA 1,950 2,473 26.82%
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSA 6,737 8,532 26.64%
Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN MSA 989 1,252 26.59%
Jacksonville, FL MSA 2,623 3,297 25.70%
Honolulu, HI MSA 1,314 1,651 25.65%
Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, TX MSA 2,219 2,786 25.55%
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX MSA 2,740 3,433 25.29%
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA MSA 1,374 1,718 25.04%
San Antonio, TX MSA 3,946 4,919 24.66%
Clarksville, TN-KY MSA 2,296 2,859 24.52%
Columbia, SC MSA 1,024 1,271 24.12%
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA MSA 2,529 3,138 24.08%
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA MSA 2,527 3,130 23.86%
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA MSA 1,004 1,236 23.11%
Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC MSA 951 1,164 22.40%
Orlando-Kissimmee, FL MSA 1,038 1,270 22.35%
Indianapolis-Carmel, IN MSA 947 1,158 22.28%
Las Vegas-Paradise, NV MSA 2,025 2,466 21.78%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL MSA 1,068 1,300 21.72%
Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin, FL MSA 1,578 1,917 21.48%
Jacksonville, NC MSA 2,501 3,034 21.31%
St. Louis, MO-IL MSA 1,522 1,840 20.89%
Savannah, GA MSA 976 1,173 20.18%
Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA MSA 1,027 1,224 19.18%
Olympia, WA MSA 1,064 1,265 18.89%
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH MSA 948 1,123 18.46%
Oklahoma City, OK MSA 1,561 1,843 18.07%
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 2,295 2,666 16.17%
Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC MSA 1,452 1,685 16.05%
Charleston-North Charleston, SC MSA 1,350 1,565 15.93%
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA 1,689 1,952 15.57%
Kansas City, MO-KS MSA 1,261 1,413 12.05%
Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI MSA 995 1,113 11.86%
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI MSA 1,444 1,594 10.39%

Developing the Top Cities List

Veterans United Home Loans has been the country's largest VA purchase lender since 2016.

To create our Top 50 cities list, we obtained demographic data from the Department of Veterans Affairs and combined purchase loan figures for both Millennials and Generation Z for FY20 and compared them to the figures for FY19.

Metro areas needed at least 2,000 purchase loans over the two-year span to be included in the analysis.

We define Millennials those born between 1981 and 1996, with Generation Z starting in 1997.

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