Younger, Older Buyers Find Common Ground In Home Buying

Millennials and older Americans have more in common than they think, at least when it comes to buying houses.

Homebuyers between the ages of 22 and 29 (“younger millennials”) and 74 to 94 (the “silent generation”) share significant home-hunting behavioral characteristics, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2020 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report. These include:

  • 53 percent of younger millennials and the silent generation say buying a home near family and friends is a high priority.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The older buyers, along with the youngest buyers, were more likely than others to confer with a friend or relative regarding their homebuying process.
  • Additionally, 33 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.

“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.”


The two age groups were not perfectly aligned, however:

  • Younger millennials have the highest share of unmarried couples buying homes at 21 percent.
  • Just 3 percent of homebuyers in the silent generation and 3 percent of older boomers were unmarried.
  • Older millennials have the highest share of married couples who buy together – at 67 percent.

How does that compare? Sixty-one percent of all recent buyers were married couples, 17 percent were single women, 9 percent were single men and another 9 percent were unmarried couples.

Generation X

Meanwhile, Generation X (ages 40 to 54) continues to deal with the fallout from the Great Recession.

Even though Xers had the highest household income at $110,900, 11 percent of them said they wanted to sell earlier but were delayed because their home was worth less than their mortgage. That delayed home purchases a median of five years, NAR reported.

Additionally, one in six Gen Xers report buying multi-generational homes – often to care for aging parents or accommodate children over the age of 18 who haven’t left the house.

See the full report here.