WASHINGTON, DC — Several key homebuying characteristics of younger millennials are replicating the buying patterns of members of the so-called “Silent Generation” – a surprising and enlightening trend that could have implications for homebuilders, residential remodelers and kitchen/bath design professionals.
That’s one of several key findings in the latest of a series of studies into key generational differences between recent and past homebuyers and home sellers. The study, conducted among 5,870 recent homebuyers and entitled the 2020 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends, was conducted by the National Association of Realtors, which reported that millennials made up the largest share (38%) of existing-home buyers over the past year, marking the seventh consecutive year the group represented the most active generation of buyers.
“The silent generation – older Americans who are typically grandparents and great-grandparents now – for years have prioritized living near family and other loved ones,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “But it’s surprising to see younger millennials with homebuying preferences and ideals similar to older segments of the population.”
The NAR study found that despite the obvious age gap between millennials and people who make up the silent generation, the two groups are “likeminded” in terms of buying preferences. For example, among both age groups, proximity to friends and family is a high priority, with 53% of homebuyers between the ages of 22-29 and 74-94 listing that as a “major factor” that would influence their decision in selecting an area in which to buy.
Thirty-three percent of home sellers aged 74-94 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 more likely relocate due to reasons such as career changes or retirement.
Another area where younger homebuyers stood apart from other buyers was in their living arrangements. For example, 33% of homebuyers aged 22-29 reported living with parents, relatives or friends prior to buying a home. The next highest share was homebuyers aged 30-39, where 13% lived with parents, relatives or friends. This same living situation was found in only 5% of buyers aged 65-73 and in 6% of buyers ages 74-94, the NAR said.
Among the study’s other findings:
- One in six younger boomers and Gen Xers are buying multi-generational homes. In many cases, the intent is to care for aging parents or to accommodate children over the age of 18.
- Younger millennials and silent generation buyers who purchased a new home were also the most likely to make the purchase due to the amenities that a newly constructed home provides.
- “This aligns with norms of older generations, but represents a new trend for younger homebuyers,” the Washington, DC-based NAR reported.
- 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 baby boomers, were unmarried at the time of purchase. Older millennials have the highest share (67%) of married couples. By comparison, 61% of all recent buyers were married couples, while 17% were single women, 9% were single men and another 9% were unmarried couples. Twenty-two percent of older baby boomers homebuyers (between the ages of 65 and 73) are single women.