Generational Trends Among Home Buyers

    Generational Trends Among Home Buyers

    Sep 20, 2021

    Since 2013, the National Association of REALTORS® has produced the Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report. This report provides insights into differences and similarities across generations of home buyers and sellers. The home buyer and seller data is taken from the annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

    New to this year’s report is the share of Gen Z buyers and sellers aged 18 to 21. While the share is just two percent for both buyers and sellers, the sample was too small to show unique characteristics. However, this is an indicator that homeownership is important to this generation and next year’s report may contain a larger sample of Gen Z buyers.

    Read on to learn more about behaviors among various demographic cohorts for home buying!

    Millennial Buyers: Millennial buyers 22 to 30 years (Younger Millennials) and buyers 31 to 40 years (Older Millennials) continue to make up the largest share of home buyers at 37 percent: Older Millennials at 23 percent and Younger Millennials at 14 percent of the share of home buyers.

    In fact, Millennials have been the largest share of buyers since the 2014 report.

    Gen X Buyers: Buyers 41 to 55 (Gen Xers) consisted of 24 percent of recent home buyers. This group continues to be the highest earning home buyers with a median income of $113,300 in 2019. Correspondingly, buyers 40 to 54 purchased the second-most expensive homes at a median home price of $305,000. They also bought the largest homes in size at a median of 2,100 square feet.

    This was the most likely generation to have children under the age of 18 at 61 percent. Gen X buyers were also the most likely to purchase a multi-generational home at 18 percent.

    Baby Boomers: For the report, buyers 56 to 65 (Younger Baby Boomers) and buyers 66 to 74 (Older Baby Boomers) were broken into two separate categories as they have differing demographics and buying behaviors.

    Buyers 56 to 65 consisted of 18 percent of recent buyers and buyers 66 to 74 consisted of 14 percent of recent buyers. Younger Baby Boomers purchased for an array of reasons such as the desire to own a home of their own, the desire to be closer to friends and family, and the desire to live in a different area.

    Older Baby Boomers were most likely to purchase a newly built home at 19 percent. Baby Boomers expect to own their homes for the longest period of time of 20 years. Buyers 66 to 74 were the age group with the highest share of single females at 22 percent.

    Older Baby Boomers were also more likely to be Veterans at 30 percent. Buyers 66 to 74 typically moved the furthest distance at a median of 35 miles, while buyers 56 to 65 moved a median of 22 miles.

    The Silent Generation: Buyers 75 to 95 (The Silent Generation) represented the smallest share of buyers at five percent. As most of these buyers were likely to have retired or scaled back their work demands, they had the lowest median household incomes.

    They were most likely to purchase to be closer to friends and family and for a smaller home. Buyers 75 to 95 were most likely to purchase in senior-related housing at 27 percent. They were also the most likely to purchase in small towns at 27 percent. They were the least likely to compromise in their home search. This age group also had the highest percentage of military veterans at 44 percent.