Millennials are already impacting the consumer market in ways I never imagined. Think about it, if I had approached you 10 years ago discussing the sharing economy and companies like Uber and Lyft, what would have been your response? Well, we are facing a new millennial-fueled shift, challenging traditional knowledge of the housing market. Since 2005, I’ve watched as American households have increasingly sought rental options, with over 9 million new residents choosing to rent, the largest gain in the rental market since the 1960s. While many thought, it hit its peak during the 2008 financial crisis, it appears the trend will likely continue. Even though the Dow Jones Industrial Average has exceeded 21,000 and joblessness is under 5 percent, the number of rental properties is still increasing.

You may be asking yourself why.

Dispelling the myth of the millennial there are many factors, but one prevailing trend is that a large percentage of millennials are now entering the workforce and starting families. Over 10 percent of the rental boom can be attributed to millennials, and less than half of the generation has yet to enter the workforce. Although this generation is one of the most educated group in our country’s history, they are more likely to rent than own. It’s not that millennials are frivolously spending their hard-earned money, rather the cost of home ownership is growing faster than median salaries, preventing many millennials from purchasing a home. Also, this generation is the most indebted, with many students leaving university with tens-of-thousands of dollars in student loans. With this debt in mind, an increasing number of young professionals are seeking affordable options that will still allow them to maintain a comfortable lifestyle after rent and student loan payments.

Multi-family housing development has increased sharply in the last five years. Behind the scenes though, there has been a subtler change. An increasing number of single-family homes are being rented out in older suburban neighborhoods at a much lower cost. As these young professionals flock to single-family rentals, they are changing the market potential for retailers. Typically, the cost of renting in older suburban neighborhoods is substantially less than home ownership, averaging close to $1,030 a month. This lower cost to enter these rentals, mixed with the limited liability, means that millennials have money left over from rent and student loan payments to put into the local economy.

As this trend continues over the next decade, developers must seize the opportunity to establish a presence in the right area.