In the battle of generational home buying, millennials are back on top.

Millennials leading housing market
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According to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), millennials have snatched the largest share of the housing market.

The NAR’s 2024 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends uncovered several revelations about the real estate market. According to the report, millennials, both younger (ages 25 to 33) and older (ages 34 to 43), account for 38% of the home buying market. This is a notable increase from last year’s total of 28%.

Up until last year, baby boomers held the lion’s share of the housing demographic. This generation, including both younger boomers (ages 59 to 68) and older boomers (ages 69 to 77), has since decreased from 39% to 31%, dropping them into second place behind the millennials.

“The generational tug-of-war between millennials and baby boomers continued this year, with millennials rebounding to capture the largest share of home buyers,” said Jessica Lautz, NAR deputy chief economist and vice president of research. “This notable rise is attributed to both younger millennials stepping into homeownership for the first time and older millennials transitioning to larger homes that suit their evolving needs.”

First-Timers and Single Women Buyer Numbers Rising

Across all generations, the research highlighted an increase in first-time buyers; 32% of all buyers made a purchase for the first time, up from 26% the previous year. Younger millennials led the way, with their share of first-time buyers rising from 70% to 75% in the last year. First-time purchasers made up 24% of Generation X (ages 44-58) and 44% of older millennials.

The rise of Generation Z (those between the ages of 18 and 24) in the property market is finally beginning. Even while this generation made up only 3% of all buyers, 31% of Gen Z buyers were unmarried women, which is a proportion much higher than that of any other generation.

“Gen Z buyers are entering the housing market, and their demographics are emerging distinctly from other age groups,” Lautz said. “More than half are single buyers, outpacing all age groups of single men and single women, and they are also most likely to identify as LGBTQ+.”

Boomers Led the Selling Market

In 2023, baby boomers dominated the real estate market as the largest generation of home sellers, making up a significant 45% of all sellers. Generational differences were found in the length of time homeowners held onto their properties before selling. According to recent data, there is a significant difference in the length of time that different generations stay in their homes. While the average homeowner stays in their home for about 10 years, older millennials tend to sell their homes after just six years. This contrasts with Gen X, baby boomers, and the silent generation, who typically stay in their homes for 15 years.

“Baby boomers continue to dominate the home selling market as they make pivotal decisions regarding their retirement living situations, whether it’s right-sizing or moving closer to loved ones,” Lautz said. “Benefiting from longer periods of home ownership compared to other generations, boomers approach these transactions with substantial equity, enabling strategic housing trades.”

This story appeared on Builder Online

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