For quite a while, most buyers have been Millennials. This is predominately related to their age. The age range for the Millennial generation varies depending who you ask, but the National Association of Realtors (NAR) uses 24 to 42. This is considered to be the prime age range for first-time homebuyers as well as those moving from their starter home to their first permanent home. Because of this, Millennials have been the largest contingent of homebuyers. That’s no longer the case.
So who’s replacing them? One might expect it to be the generation just below them — it would make sense that as time goes on the younger generations fill the shoes of those before them. But the typical homebuyer has been around age 36, which is in the Millennial range, and much of Generation Z is still too young to own a home. It’s actually Baby Boomers making a comeback. The reason for this is economic, rather than generational. The current market is not well suited to homebuying. Those who are able to buy are generally those who can afford high-end homes. And one of the best ways to afford high-end homes is by having many more years of saving and building equity. Many Baby Boomers will have paid off their mortgage by now, and their homes would also be worth significantly more than they were when they were purchased. Half of Baby Boomers purchasing now are paying cash, something that Millennials without any equity are priced out of attempting.