The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) just released its latest annual report on homebuyers and sellers. Categorizing buyers and sellers by age, ethnicity and gender, NAR used compeer markers in order to make generational comparisons.

  • Millennials – ages 19 – 36
  • Gen X – ages 37 – 50
  • Younger boomers – 51 – 64
  • Older boomers – 65 – 75
  • Silent generation – 76 and up

According to data gleaned from this Buyer/Seller Generational Trends report, Millennials had the largest share in the housing market at 36%. Of those millennial buyers/sellers, 65% of them were first time buyers. Millennials were the most racially and ethnically diverse of any generation and their median age was 31 years. Millennials had the highest share of unmarried homeowners. Also, 40% of this generation spent an average $24,500 more than they had originally budgeted.

Gen Xers represented 26% of the housing market. Of those Gen Xers, 24% were first time buyers and they tended to have the highest household incomes, $104,700/year. Also racially and ethnically diverse, 60% of Gen Xers had children 18 years and under living with them. 35% of Gen Xers spent an average of $14,000 over what they had originally budgeted.

Young Boomers, 18% of the housing market, had the highest median income, $94,000year. They also tended to have children 18 years and younger living with them. 20% of Young Boomers bought multi-generational homes and 19% spent an average of $8,000 more than they had originally budgeted.

Older Boomers represented 14% of the housing market. This generation was the least likely to make compromises regarding their home purchases. This generation typically moved the longest distance away, a minimum of 30 miles, from their previous home.

Members of the Silent Generation, 6% of the market, were the least likely to purchase a single-family detached home. This generation tended to buy the newest homes and 28% of them tended to buy a home within a senior-related housing development. 17% of this generation bought a multi-generational home while having the largest share of unmarried women.

ALL of the generations continued to consult an agent and/or broker to help them buy or sell a home. All ages 62 years and under bought a home because they wanted to have a home of their own. 65% of all ages who bought homes were married; 18% were single females; 7% were single males; and 8% were unmarried couples.

37% of buyers all ages had children 18 years and younger living with them. 25% of Older Boomers bought a home to be close to their family and friends. 19% of people ages 72-92 bought a home in order to downsize their belongings and their responsibilities.

What home characteristics did these generations buy?

  • Across all generations, buyers choose single-family detached homes
  • A median distance of 15 miles separated their old home from their new home
  • Across all generations, 85% bought resale houses primarily to “get a better price”
  • Of the 15% across all generations who bought new homes, they wanted to avoid renovations and “problems”
  • Senior-related housing appealed most to those 72 years and older (28%) and to both Younger and Older Boomers (13%).