Baby boomers have just taken the top spot when it comes to buying homes in America.
Boomers, aged 58–76, have now surpassed millennials, ranging from ages 24–42, as the top home-buying generation, a just-released study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) indicates.
The NAR indicates in its 2023 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report that boomers comprised 39 percent of all homebuyers at the end of 2022.
The number is a 10-point lead over 2021 figures.
In comparison, millennials experienced a drop in home-buying activity from 43 percent in 2021 to just 28 percent last year.
Dr. Jessica Lautz, NAR deputy chief economist and vice president of research, says that boomers may have an easier time purchasing homes now because they don’t necessarily have to rely on savings for a down payment.
“These homeowners have a lot of housing equity, and they made substantial gains over the last two years as home prices continue to rise,” she said in a statement.
“Some of them are now able to pay cash for a new home after selling their house.”
While Generation X, ages 43–57, had the highest median household income of any generation, at $114,00, they comprised just 24 percent of homebuyers in 2022.
“If you think about it, every ‘boomer will be over the age of 60 within the next three years, and many of them are thinking about retirement,” Dr. Lautz explained.
“They have the upper hand in the home-buying market, and they are living healthier and longer so they’re able to make housing trades later in life.”
Dr. Lautz also indicated there are strong migration trends among many boomers to the Sunbelt, whether they’re looking for a permanent move or a second home for the winter months.
In addition to leading the way in home-buying, baby boomers remained the largest home-seller generation, jumping from 42 percent in 2021 to 52 percent in 2022.
According to the NAR report, 26 percent of all buyers were first-time buyers, the lowest since the NAR started to track data.
The number marks a decrease from 34 percent in 2021.
More than 70 percent of younger millennials and 46 percent of older millennials were first-time buyers.
By comparison, only 21 percent of Generation X and 9 percent of younger boomers were first-time purchasers.
Generation Z, aged 18–23, now makes up 4 percent of homebuyers, a slight increase from 2 percent in 2021.
Almost 30 percent of Gen Z moved directly from a family member’s home into homeownership.
“As the youngest generation of homebuyers and sellers, it’s encouraging to see Gen Z entering the market,” Dr. Lautz said.
“Their desire for homeownership is strong, and many are relying on family support systems to help make their first real estate purchase.”
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 their home.
The most common type of home purchase continues to be the single-family detached home, with about 1,800 square feet of space, three bedrooms, and two bathrooms.
Factors influencing buyers’ choices include the quality of neighborhoods, convenience of shopping, walkability, and convenience of public transportation.
The report indicated that, overall, buyers are relocating at much farther distances—a median of 50 miles as compared to just 15 miles last year.
Younger boomers moved the farthest, at 90 miles, followed by older boomers at 60 miles and millennials at just 15 miles.
Buyers also expect to live in their homes for 15 years, a slight increase from 12 years in 2021.
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