Finding a Home in My Own Hometown

“There are a million reasons to live in Blacksburg.” 25-year-old Peter Sorensen grew up here and graduated from Babson College. When the pandemic hit he was living in Brooklyn, New York. As he moved to remote work, with the newfound flexibility to live wherever he chooses, he was drawn back to his hometown.

In addition to being close to family, Peter was attracted to Blacksburg’s unique mix: a rural setting, where his love of nature was fed by opportunities for kayaking, fishing, and canoeing, blended with a city feel that comes with cool coffee houses and restaurants with menus in Mandarin.

Coming home had its advantages but Peter was completely floored at housing prices. “Housing is a lot more expensive than I thought it would be, and this is coming from someone who was renting an apartment in an up-and-coming area of Brooklyn.” With national average student loan debt at $26k and rental prices skyrocketing, saving for a home can be challenging for young professionals like Peter.

The expense of housing may be “one of the million reasons” that Blacksburg will lose intellectual talent that comes to the area for VT. “Townhomes that range from $300-$400K are quite pricey for someone in their twenties.” To meet the demands of the market, Peter decided to join forces with his brother and sister-in-law. And, the competition is stiff. Recently, they were outbid on a townhome in the Hethwood area sought after for its walkability to shops, schools, grocery stores, pools and parks. “The house went on the market at 8 am and by 6 pm it was under contract to someone willing to pay more than asking. My brother and I have pretty good jobs, and we get outbid. It is a bummer that you cannot afford anywhere close to where you grew up.” Even with the trend of remote work and people having a choice of where they live, Peter doesn’t know if talent will choose Blacksburg. Keeping young professionals in the area will require a commitment to creating affordable options, with an increased focus on homeownership.

This area offers so much for so many. For Peter it is nature. “I can head out to the woods, go fishing, or hiking after work. Growing up here made me passionate about the environment.” Peter is committed to the area and ready to make an investment in making this his home. But first he has to find one.

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