How long has it been since you’ve packed up and moved? How about your next-door neighbor? If you live in the 06468 ZIP code assigned to Monroe, or Trumbull’s 06611, chances are your answer is several years. But if you’re in Black Rock, with an address ending in 06605, or 06604 in Downtown Bridgeport, it’s much more likely that either you, the neighbor to your left, or the neighbor to your right have moved in within the last year.
In the heart of Bridgeport, census figures show 19.7 percent of residents have moved into their home in the last year, tying the 06604 ZIP code with the neighboring 06604 for the biggest revolving door in the Greater Bridgeport Area with a mobility rate above the national average.
Bridgeport and its surrounding towns offer different flavors form one pocket to the other, said Susan Coyle, past president of the Greater Bridgeport Board of Realtors. While some areas attract residents looking to begin their adult lives near a thriving downtown district in rental properties, others cater to those seeking more permanent homes.
“When they buy in Bridgeport, they’re buying temporarily. They’re not buying a permanent home,” said Coyle. “That’s what I find. It’s like a starter home; they’ll be there for a couple years and then when they start a family, they’ll move out. It’s a more transient buyer in Bridgeport.”
In Downtown’s 06604 ZIP code, 68 percent of dwellings are occupied by renters, about twice the national average of 34.5 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But that’s something that just plain old makes sense in a modern lifecycle, according to Thaddea Sheridan, president of the Stamford Board of Realtors, who sees a similar trend in her own city.
In Stamford, the downtown area “tends to attract the younger, less-established, more transient young people just moving to Stamford for jobs,” according to Sheridan.
“They want to be near the trains and all the restaurants and nightlife,” she said, adding that after a few years, these young professionals typically leave the urban center for neighborhoods where they can have a bit more room to stretch.
But while boxes are built and broken down on the regular in the blocks surrounding Bridgeport’s buzzing core, Fairfield County is widely known as a place where people move and stay. Of the 366 MSAs in the nation, the Bridgeport-Stamford MSA – which is the exact same area as Fairfield County – is tied for the fourth lowest rate of geographic mobility, with only 10.7 percent of county residents moving homes in the past year, according to the Census Bureau.
That low rate is anchored by ZIP codes like New Fairfield’s 06812, where only 3.4 percent of residents report moving in the past 12 months – the lowest in all of Southwestern Connecticut – and Monroe’s 06468, where the rate hovers at 4 percent, and 6.13 percent of residents have lived in the same home since before the millennium turned in 2000.
That’s a substantial amount of people sitting still. The national breakdown comes in at 37.5 percent, meaning 42 of Southwestern Connecticut’s 53 ZIP codes have larger shares of people staying for a long time than the typical American community. In total, there are 19 ZIP codes where at least half of residents have remained planted since 1999 or earlier.
Places like Trumbull and Shelton, where 58.1 percent and 50.1 percent of residents have lived in the same home since before 2000, are on that list. But it’s Monroe’s 06468 ZIP code that has the highest rate of all 53 postal codes in the Southwestern Connecticut region.
Monroe is a rich community, not in the sense of personal wealth – though there is certainly some of that – but in the diverse offerings it boasts for residents.
“It has uniqueness to it, where it have a country flair, but there are still those pockets and centers where people can congregate, like the shopping center,” said T.R. Durkin, a real estate agent with Durkin Group, which markets homes in Monroe along with other neighboring towns like Trumbull.
People come to Monroe in a different stage of life than Bridgeport buyers, according to Durkin.
“A lot of people come in as a second home buyer. There are a few areas on the lower end, in the $200,000 range, but the middle and upper range, people come here because they owned a house previously and they’re looking for a larger home,” he said. And then they stay. And stay. And stay.
“A lot of the people purchased their homes years ago, and they have just not moved. It’s a community they like,” he said. “They’ve seen Monroe grow and they want to stay.”