Real Estate Meeting

Real Estate Needs Vary Across Generations

The National Association of Realtors publishes numerous surveys and studies each year. One of the more interesting is the annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. The survey details the buying and selling experiences of thousands of home buyers and sellers who purchased or sold a home during a given year. The results of the 2019 survey were released earlier this year.

A particularly interesting subset of the survey is the Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report. The report “provides insights into differences and similarities across generations of home buyers and home sellers,” according to NAR. The portion of the report highlighted here focuses on home buyers. The generational breakdowns fall into six distinct categories.

Younger Millennials (21 to 28 years): This group accounted for 11 percent of all home sales. The report also noted that 86 percent of the group were first-time buyers. Forty percent considered the cost of commuting to and from work prior to making their purchase, while 71 percent found it important to live close to where they work.

Older Millennials (29 to 38 years): These buyers were responsible for 26 percent of the total number of home sales, with just more than half purchasing for the first time. This group had the largest share of married couples and were most likely to have children under the age of 18 at home (58 percent). They purchased the largest homes, based on median square footage and number of bedrooms, and were particularly interested in living in locations that are convenient to their jobs. In addition to planning to stay in their homes for 10 years, the quality and convenience of school districts were high on their list as well.

Gen Xers (39 to 53 years): This group accounted for 24 percent of home sales and had the highest median income ($111,700). They also purchased the largest houses at a median of 2,100 square feet and were the most likely to purchase multigenerational homes. They were the most racially and ethnically diverse category, with 25 percent identifying as other than White/Caucasian.

Younger Baby Boomers (54 to 63 years): Buyers in this category make up 18 percent of recent buyers. Among the reasons for purchasing are to facilitate a job relocation, downsize to a smaller home, and to move closer to friends and family. As the so-called sandwich generation, these buyers are more likely to purchase a multi-generation home that can accommodate both children and aging parents. Planning to stay for 20 years, these buyers project that they’ll live in their homes longer than any other generation.

Older Baby Boomers (64 to 73 years): Fourteen percent of buyers fall into this category. As with the younger baby boomers, this generation likewise cites closeness to friends and family, retirement and a desire for a smaller home as their motivations for moving. They typically move the longest distance and are the least likely to compromise on their home purchase. It is interesting to note that approximately 10,000 baby boomers have been turning 65 each and every day since January of 2011, and will continue to do so until 2030.

The Silent Generation (born 1925 to 1945): This category of buyers is likely to be retired and has the lowest median household incomes across all categories. They make up seven percent of all buyers. They are also the least likely to purchase a traditional detached single-family home. Just under one in four opted for senior-related housing, and as a whole tended to purchase the newest homes. As with their younger baby-boomer peers, moving closer to family and the desire for a smaller home were high on their lists.

One thing that all buyers surveyed had in common, according to NAR, is that “all generations of buyers continue to consult a real estate agent or broker to help them buy and sell their home.”


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