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NAR Survey of Generational Trends Shows Younger Buyers More Optimistic

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The median down payment for Millennials was 5 percent, considerably less than older generations of buyers whose down payment ranged from 8 percent for Gen X buyers to 22 percent for Silent Generation buyers. Younger buyers who financed their home purchase most often relied on savings for their down payment whereas older buyers were more likely to use proceeds from the sale of a primary residence.

“An interesting finding is that Older Boomers and Silent Generation buyers found the mortgage application and approval process more difficult than expected compared to younger buyers,” said Bishop. “This underscores the ongoing challenges that many credit worthy homebuyers face with today’s tight credit standards.”

The largest group of recent home sellers was from Generation X, comprising 30 percent of recent sales, followed by Younger Boomers (21 percent), Older Boomers (21 percent) and the Silent Generation (19 percent). As the age of sellers increased, the share of married and unmarried couples declined and the percentage of single female home buyers increased, from 4 percent among Millennials to more than 17 percent among Boomer and Silent Generation sellers, perhaps due to death or divorce.

Like buyers, older sellers tend to move greater distances, and are more likely than younger generations to move out of the state or region. While younger buyers typically moved to larger, higher priced homes, the data shows a clear trend of downsizing to smaller, less expensive homes among the Older Boomer and Silent Generations.

Typically, the older the seller, the longer the tenure in the home; while Millennials had been in their previous home for a median of five years, Gen X-ers stayed 8 years, Younger Boomers owned their home for 11 years, Older Boomers stayed for 13 years, and the Silent Generation kept their previous home for 15 years.

The reasons for selling a home also varied among the generations. Younger buyers were more likely to move to accommodate job relocation or desired to upgrade to a larger home. In comparison, older buyers were often looking for a smaller home due to retirement and because upkeep was too difficult due to health or financial limitations, or to be closer to family or friends.

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