- Median age of home buyers jumped from 31 in 1981 to 47 in 2019
- Median age of first-time home buyers jumped to 33 in 2019 to a consistent 28-32 years old from 1981-2018
- Median age of repeat buyers now stands at 55
Homebuyers are becoming older…all homebuyers and among all market segments. The median age of first-time buyers is now 33 years old whereas first-time buyers ranged in age from 28 to 32 between 1981-2018.
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31 years old to 47 years old is a fairly steep jump. What happened?
- It ‘s harder today to save for a down payment than it was more than 30 years ago.
- Rental costs (and everything else along with student loan debt) have substantially increased making it more difficult to save for a down payment.
- Debt-to-income ratios are increasing inferior due to student loan debt.
- There is a severe shortage of affordable entry-level homes today…this shortage didn’t exist in 1981.
- One current positive is that first-time buyers may be able to get help from down payment assistance programs.
Though the median age of first-time buyers is eye opening, the current median age of repeat buyers is eye-popping. Today’s median age of repeat buyers is 55; in 1981, the median age of repeat buyers was 36.
What are some contributing factors to the age increase of repeat buyers?
- Homeowners are staying in their homes for longer periods of time…tenure has increased from 6-7 years to now 10 years.
- Americans are living and working longer so more people are open to purchasing new homes even with mortgages long past traditional retirement ages.
- Many people are having children later in life so there are more “big life decisions,” such as buying a home, being pushed back into the future.
- Working and assisting grown children through college now takes precedence over downsizing.
- Adults are holding on to the “family house” as their adult children boomerang back into the fold after college.
- Many homeowners have positive home equity situations due to increased home prices. These owners can now move to houses that better meet their needs.
- Many owners intend to stay in their repeat, newer houses for 15-20 years and/or many are planning to “never” move.
Where are homeowners staying in their homes longer?
- Pittsburgh PA – 16 years
- Scranton PA – 18 years
- Springfield MA – 16 years
- Buffalo NY – 16 years
- Honolulu HI – 16 years
Where are homeowners moving from their homes faster?
- Colorado Springs CO – 8 years
- Austin TX – 8 years
- Boise City ID – 8 years
- Provo-Orem UT – 7 years
- Las Vegas – 7 years
- Phoenix AZ – 8 years
- North Point FL – 8 years
- Cape Coral FL – 7 years
Thanks to the American Community Survey and the National Association of REALTORS®’ Dr. Jessica Lautz, vice president of Demographics and Behavioral Insights for source data.