How the Homebuying Habits of Baby Boomers Can Impact You

In this 3-part series, you'll discover the unprecedented housing changes that Boomers are driving and how to rethink your real estate whether you are a Boomer, Millennial, or Gen Xer.

It’s always been a sort of final chapter of the American dream: Get married and have kids. Buy a house. Move to a bigger house. Downsize to a smaller one.  But a growing number of aging Baby Boomers are saying, “No, thanks” to downsizing, choosing instead to remain in the same sprawling houses in which they raised kids and created lifelong memories.

While many older Americans are still stepping down to smaller homes, they're doing so later in life.  This may be because Boomers, generally those age 54 to 73, are working longer and putting off retirement. Many of their Millennial children are living with them well into adulthood. And there’s a shortage of less expensive entry-level houses across the country, pushing up prices in that category and making the trade-off less appealing.  According to a Chase bank survey released earlier this year, 52% percent of Boomers say they’ll never move from their current home.

On the flip side, Baby Boomers who are downsizing have found themselves caught with big, outdated homes that few Millennials find desirable.  According to the Wall Street Journal, “Tastes — and access to credit — have shifted dramatically since the 2000s. These days, buyers of all ages eschew the large, ornate houses built in those years in favor of smaller, more-modern looking alternatives, and prefer walkable areas to living miles from retail.” These comments echo the Millennial driven, urban-suburban trend.  Census data shows that not only are Millennials more likely to move to a suburb than city around age 25 but that 30 to 44 year olds are leaving cities for suburbs at a much faster pace than they did in decades past. The National Association of Realtors sees the same trend, with young buyers shifting to suburban locations.

To appease Millennials, developers envision a future suburbia that’s less about cul-de-sacs and strip malls, and more about urban villages with walkable streets and public spaces.

And yet, the largest segment of the U.S. population, Generation X, those born between 1965 and 1979, are currently purchasing the biggest homes, often with multi-generational living arrangements.  Gen X are in the middle stages of career and home ownership and are often juggling children nearing high school or college graduation age, aging parents, and are at the height of their careers. 

Last year's home buying trend reports show that Gen Xers purchased newly built homes to avoid renovations and problems with plumbing and electricity as well as previously owned homes for a better overall value.  Their primary reasons for buying were the need for a larger home, a job relocation, a change in family situation, and a more desirable neighborhood.  And, Gen Xers purchased the greatest share of multi-generational homes

Despite the reasons Gen Xers, Millennials, or Baby Boomers have for buying or selling, it seems that today all generations share a similar desire for low-maintenance, Pinterest-pretty homes.  Modern technology and social media give instant access to home shopping and renovation inspiration at our fingertips.  And even if the highlight reels and filtered photos of other's homes are not reality, these have shaped a desire for homes that look like Pottery Barn and function with the ease of the KonMari Method

👉 Join me in the next two parts of the Baby Boomers at Home series where you'll learn how to stage your home to appeal to the generation of buyers shopping in your area and how to update the home you plan to stay in to fit your lifestyle

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