Much ado has been made of the “millennial” generation — anyone born between 1981 and 1996, according to Pew Research. They’re buying a ton of pricey avocado toast, they love their pets like family members, and they’ve been blamed for killing the office dress code. They’ve also been slower to enter into homeownership than generations past — and for a variety of reasons.
According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2019 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report, Millennials make up the largest share of homebuyers (37%), followed by Baby Boomers (32%), Gen Xers (24%), and the Silent Generation (7%). Of all buyers, 33 percent are buying their first homes.
“The largest cohort in America is growing up and becoming more traditional in their buying habits,” the report notes of Millennials, the majority of whom are married couples and the most likely of any generation to have children under age 18 living at home. These buyers also care about commuting costs, but have the shortest expected tenure in their homes of any generation at around 10 years.
Generation X, or buyers age 39 to 53, consists of homebuyers in their peak earning years. The report notes that they had the highest median income of any generational group, at $111,1000 in 2017 (up from $104,700 in 2016). Gen X buyers are buying the most expensive homes — at a median price of $277,800 — as well as the largest homes — at a median square footage of 2,100.
Baby Boomers were broken into two segments within this report because they have different buying behaviors and demographics. Baby Boomers ages 54 to 63 bought new houses because of reasons like job relocations and wanting to be closer to family and friends. Buyers ages 64 to 72 typically moved due to a household member’s health and moved the longest distance compared to other groups — a median of 30 miles — while also being less likely to make compromises relating to their next-home purchase.
The Silent Generation, or homebuyers age 73 to 93, comprised the smallest generational group at just 7 percent. These homebuyers, who are likely retired or working less than other generations, have the lowest median household incomes. Among this generation, 29% of home purchases were made in senior-related housing markets.