Manchester an emerging bargain for millennials

Tech, taxes, and housing make the city a great place to live after college


Ever watch a sitcom and wonder how artists in their twenties afford spacious downtown apartments? You’re not alone. Downtown living in major U.S. cities can force a price compromise for millennials hoping to experience the downtown life after college, but areas in the southern part of New Hampshire have received national attention for their opportunity and affordability. The overall quality of life, access to Boston and the White Mountains, low taxes, infrastructure, less expensive housing than Boston, and healthy demand for good paying jobs make cities like Manchester and Nashua great places to start a life for young professionals.

Thousands of open tech jobs 

Manchester, a city that once boasted the largest cotton textile plant in the world, now sees its mills vibrant with modern housing and innovative businesses. Old and new architecture mix for a walkable downtown with historic charm. Foundry themed bars weave into the mill yard and pay genuine homage to rifles, sewing machines, fire engines, and locomotives once manufactured along the river. For young professionals looking for opportunity in the tech industry, the greater Manchester area has a strong workforce demand, adding more than 7,000 tech jobs in the last two years. The city of Manchester itself added 2,000 jobs in the tech industry during that time period.

“I’ve seen a couple thousand jobs added to downtown just in the last couple years, and they’re good jobs,” said Matt Cookson, executive director of the New Hampshire High-Tech Council. “The help wanted sign is up, and the average pay is $100,000.”

Cookson moved to the area when he was 30-years-old and has kept his office at Cookson Strategic Communications in downtown Manchester for the last five years. He’s seen more and more millennials moving downtown and goes as far as calling Manchester a college city.

Less expensive housing than major cities

Manchester recently caught national attention in The Wall Street Journal for its housing price points (the article referred to Manchester as a new Silicon City). Southern New Hampshire’s strong tech growth is complimented by a competitive tax climate and less expensive housing stock for those looking to purchase, making the area a better overall value proposition than some of the larger U.S. cities.

The August 2016 median sale price of a home in New Hampshire was $249,000, representing an eight percent growth from August 2015, but the cost still hasn’t reached its peak from before the Great Recession. A Union Leader article recently compared New Hampshire’s median home price of $271,000 to San Jose’s median home price of $1 million.

“The value proposition for someone who is coming here is very, very good… comparative cost of housing, taxes,” Cookson said. “The areas we can attract people from are well more expensive.”

With openings for tech jobs at a salary of $100,000 a year, and average home sale prices at $249,000, the greater Manchester area is certainly an attractive place for young people to live after college. Forbes magazine ranked New Hampshire as the 7th best state for taxes in 2016, and when matched with uniquely low interest rates for borrowing, the Granite State can be a great bargain for a young person hoping to start their life.

If you’re interested in housing counseling or learning more about the process of buying your first home, New Hampshire Housing provides free online resources to ensure you make the best possible home buying decision. Click here for more info.

As always, we’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions for housing-related topics to cover. You can reach us at

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