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Boomers Pass Millennials in Share of Homebuyers

NAR study: In 2022, boomers made up 39% of buyers (29% in 2021) while millennials made up only 28% (43% in 2021). The main reason? Boomers had more money.

WASHINGTON – As a percentage of all homebuyers, the share of baby boomers has surpassed millennials last year, according to the latest study from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

The 2023 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends report examines the similarities and differences of recent homebuyers and sellers across generations, and the latest report found that the combined share of younger boomers (58 to 67 years old) and older boomers (68 to 76 years old) rose to 39% in 2022, up from 29% the year prior.

Younger millennials (24 to 32 years old) and older millennials (33 to 42 years old) have been the top group of homebuyers since 2014, but their combined share fall from 43% in 2021 to 28% last year.

“Baby boomers have the upper hand in the homebuying market,” says Dr. Jessica Lautz, NAR deputy chief economist and vice president of research. “The majority of them are repeat buyers who have housing equity to propel them into their dream home – be it a place to enjoy retirement or a home near friends and family. They are living healthier and longer and making housing trades later in life.”

2022 generational traits of homebuyers

  • Of all buyers, 26% were first-timers, the lowest since NAR began tracking the data and a decrease from 34% in 2021, with 70% of younger millennials and 46% of older millennials first-time buyers. Only 21% of Gen X (43 to 57 years old) and 9% of younger boomers were first-time purchasers.
  • Generation Z – ages 18 to 23 – made up 4% of homebuyers, a slight increase from 2% in 2021. Nearly one in three Gen Z buyers – 30% – moved directly from a family member’s home into homeownership. Finding a location convenient to friends and family was most important to them.

    “As the youngest generation of homebuyers and sellers, it’s encouraging to see Gen Z entering the market,” Lautz says. “Their desire for homeownership is strong, and many are relying on family support systems to help make their first real estate purchase.”
  • Gen X made up 24% of total buyers. They had the highest median household income of any generation ($114,300), followed by older millennials ($102,900).
  • In addition to buying, baby boomers also made up the largest group of home sellers.

Among all generations, sellers typically remained in their home for 10 years before selling, up from nine years last year. On average, younger millennials stayed in their homes for four years; older boomers sold their homes after 16 years.

All generations agreed that the most common reason to sell was to be closer to friends and family. Older generations were also more likely to sell due to retirement, while younger generations cited the desire for a larger home and job relocation as top reasons to sell.

On average, people moved farther distances. Overall, buyers moved a median of 50 miles when relocating, the highest ever recorded and up significantly from 15 miles last year. Younger generations moved shorter distances, with younger and older millennials each typically moving 15 miles away. Younger boomers moved the farthest (90 miles), followed by older boomers (60 miles) and the silent generation (50 miles).

Other study takeaways

  • Overall, buyers expected to live in their homes for 15 years, up from 12 years in 2021. For younger millennials, the expected duration was only 10 years compared to 20 years for younger and older boomers. But Gen Z expected to remain in their newly purchased home for 19 years.
  • Almost nine out of 10 buyers (86%) relied on a real estate agent. The number was highest among younger boomers (90%) and Gen X (88%).
  • Buyers from all generations agreed about the top reasons for using an agent: help finding the right home to purchase (49%), negotiating the terms (13%) and the price (11%) of a sale. Younger (14%) and older (12%) millennials were most likely to want their agent to help with paperwork.
  • 76% of buyers would use their agent again or recommend their agent to others, a consistent number across all generations.
  • Most saw the home as good investment: 88% of all buyers, 74% of younger millennials and 77% of older millennials considered it “better than or about as good a financial investment as stocks.”

“Owning a home is more than just a financial investment. It’s a symbol of stability, independence and community that helps people build their lives and achieve their dreams,” says NAR President Kenny Parcell.

“Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or an experienced investor, Realtors have the expertise and knowledge needed to provide valuable advice and help you make informed decisions about your purchase.”

The full study is available on NAR’s website. It costs $19.95 for members and $199.95 for non-members.

© 2023 Florida Realtors®