Boomers, once the largest in size and influence, are now playing second fiddle in the housing market to their Millennial children, now the market’s largest demographic.
Who Are Boomers?
Demographers generally define Boomers as those born between 1946 and 1964 during the post-World War II population boon. The oldest Boomers are in their mid-70’s while the youngest are in their mid-50’s. Many Boomers have already or are considering retirement.
In a 2021 report by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), younger Boomers account for 18% of all homebuyers and 22% of all home sellers. Older Boomers represent 14% of all buyers and 21% of all home sellers. Together, older and younger Boomers account for a total of 32% of all homebuyers and 43% of all home sellers.
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This 2021 NAR report also indicated that just less than 66% of Boomers are married and that more than 90% of them are empty nesters without children living at home…though many Boomers have dogs and cats.
Boomers Are On the Move
According to this 2021 NAR report, 41% of Boomers are looking to move within their same city. 30% are looking to move to different states. A primary factor in determining where Boomers move or stay is where their children and grandkids move or stay.
Affordability and warmer weather are two other determining factors for Boomers.
Additionally, Boomers prefer living in suburbs, small towns and resort areas.
Boomer Housing Preferences
Just as remote work has freed workers to live where they choose, retirement has freed Boomers to also live where they choose.
While many Boomers choose to live near their “kids,” many are choosing “community” as a primary amenity. Brandi Snowden, a senior analyst with NAR, said that 22% of buyers over 50 are buying homes in senior oriented communities. In those senior communities, Boomers are choosing single-family detached homes with approximately 1,900 square feet in a suburban location that is close to medical and emergency services.
Boomers want smaller homes than their now too-laarge family homes that require little or preferably no maintenance.
How Boomers Pay for Their Homes
Even though Millennials are now the largest homebuying cohort, Boomers have more wealth. Many Boomers have had many more years to generate savings via home equity, home price appreciation, earnings and investments they can cash in to buy “new” homes in their retirement lives.
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Here’s a percentage breakdown by age of Boomers who financed their home purchase, according to NAR: