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Studies: Retirees, millennials high on Forsyth

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Studies often have shown that Forsyth County is among the tops in Georgia for schools, outdoor recreation, affluence and health.

To go along with those accolades, the area has also been declared a hot spot for two groups on opposite ends of the age spectrum.

Forsyth is expected to be one of the top housing markets in the nation for millennials this year. On the other hand, a separate study ranked Cumming as one of the best places in Georgia to retire.

CoreLogic used its Propensity to Purchase (PP) index that considers 70 characteristics for housing demand in its analysis. It rated Forsyth as the No. 6 county in the nation for millennial housing demand, with Douglas County in Colorado, which includes part of the Denver area, to be No. 1.

“A majority of the characteristics suggest that millennials are more likely to buy in counties that have a strong and prospering economy,” said Bret Fortenberry, a staff scientist with CoreLogic.

“Additionally, millennials are more likely to buy where they are making more money, indicating that areas with an improving job market are where this demographic is more inclined to buy.”

Three counties in Virginia and one in Indiana ranked higher than Forsyth, which had a 98.5 percent rank in the PP index.

“There’s been so much focus that [local] millennials want one thing — to live inside the perimeter and have immediate access to MARTA,” said James McCoy, president and CEO of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce. “And that is incredibly unfair to say that an entire generation wants one kind of life.

“What it overlooks are the millennials that are extremely interested in the outdoors.”

McCoy pointed to Lake Lanier, the Chattahoochee River, Sawnee Mountain, the Big Creek Greenway and the county’s parks as main draws for recent college graduates and those in their 20s.

As for retirees, Forsyth has its attributes as well.

According to a study by SmartAsset, several regional factors were examined that affect the quality of life for a retiree: taxes rates; the number of doctors’ offices; recreation and retirement centers per thousand residents; and the numbers of seniors in each area as a percentage of the total population.

Cumming ranked No. 7 in the state on this list, down one spot from last year and behind Snellville, Fayetteville, Austell, Buford, Marietta and Loganville.

McCoy said the amenities offered in Forsyth and the exemption on property taxes for anyone 65 or older are draws.

“Families are now moving closer together. In my neighborhood, and even on my cul-de-sac, we have two families where the grandparents live in another part of the neighborhood, and none of them are from Georgia,” he said. “They’re retiring here to be close to their grandkids and family.”

Both groups have an economic benefit to the county, according to McCoy.

“Retirees typically have a lot of expendable income, and they use very little resources,” he said. “They don’t have kids in school. And other than that, it’s just health care. But they’re using that and paying for that.”

Of millennials, McCoy said those moving to Forsyth tend to be well-educated and involved in “things that require creativity and innovation.”

“Many are involved in technology companies,” he said. “A vast majority are more interested in innovation and exploration and creativity than previous generations have been.”