Homebuying Habits of Millennials Mirror Those of Silent Gen., Says NAR

Washington, DC, March 9, 2020-A number of the homebuying characteristics of younger millennials are replicating the buying desires of those in the silent generation, according to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) 2020 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report, which researched each generation to examine the differences of recent homebuyers and home sellers.

The NAR report found that despite the obvious age gap between millennials and those that make up the silent generation, the two groups are likeminded in terms of buying preferences. Among both age groups, proximity to friends and family is a high priority, with 53% of homebuyers between the ages of 22 to 29 and 74 to 94 listing this as a major factor that would influence their decision in selecting a neighborhood.

“The silent generation-older Americans who are typically grandparents and great-grandparents – for years have prioritized living near family and other loved ones,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “But it was surprising to see younger millennials with homebuying preferences and ideals similar to older segments of the population.”

Thirty-three percent of home sellers aged 74 to 94 said the primary reason for selling their previous home was to move closer to friends and family, a deviation from historical trends that pushed home sellers to relocate more so due to reasons such as career changes or retirement. However, now sellers have expressed a strong desire to be near family and friends and in some cases are motived to sell for this reason.

Another similarity between the two groups is seen in those classified as “recent buyers.” Younger millennials and silent generation buyers who purchased a new home, were the most likely to make the purchase due to the amenities a newly constructed home provides. This aligns with norms of older generations but represents a new trend for younger homebuyers.

NAR found those in each generational group began their home search by viewing properties online, although buyers 74 and older contacted a real estate agent or broker nearly as often as they looked online. This group, along with the youngest buyers, were more likely than others to confer with a friend or relative regarding their homebuying process, indicating that despite the resources made readily available by the internet, both younger and older buyers call on the advice of a trusted friend or relative.

Although younger homebuyers closely mirror older buyers, the two groups are not totally in sync. Younger millennials have the highest share of unmarried couples buying homes at 21%, whereas only 3% of homebuyers in the silent generation and 3% of older boomers were unmarried at the time of purchase. Older millennials have the highest share of married couples, 67%.

For context, 61% of all recent buyers were married couples, 17% were single women, 9% were single men and another 9% were unmarried couples.

Twenty-two percent of homebuyers between the ages of 65 to 73, older baby boomers, are single women. A number of factors go into this share, including single divorcees entering the market, widows and unmarried women.

Another area where younger homebuyers stood apart from other buyers was in their living arrangements. Thirty-three percent of homebuyers aged 22 to 29 reported living with parents, relatives or friends prior to buying a home. Of this 33%, 13% paid rent and 20% paid no rent. The next highest share was homebuyers aged 30 to 39, where 13% lived with parents, relatives or friends. This same living situation was found in only 5% of buyers aged 65 to 73, and in 6% of buyers ages 74 to 94.

For the full report, click here.