A number of the homebuying characteristics of younger Millennials are replicating the buying desires of those in the Silent Generation, according to the latest study from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the “2020 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends
" report, which researched each generation to examine the differences of recent homebuyers and home sellers. The Silent Generation is the demographic comprised of individuals born between 1928-1945, following the Greatest Generation and preceding the Baby Boomers.
The NAR report found that despite the obvious age gap between Millennials and those that make up the Silent Generation, the two groups are like-minded in terms of buying preferences. Among both age groups, proximity to friends and family is a high priority, with 53 percent of homebuyers between the ages of 22-29 and 74-94 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 74-94 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.
“As technological advances are made, more potential buyers will want to consider the latest homebuying apps,” said Yun. “However, we see buyers of all ages prefer an experienced Realtor or broker to assist with this major, complex transaction.”
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 percent, whereas only three percent of homebuyers in the Silent Generation and three percent of older Boomers were unmarried at the time of purchase. Older Millennials have the highest share of married couples, 67 percent.