At 38%, millennials—adults born from 1981 to 1996—represent the largest share of home buyers in the U.S., according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors released last year. “They’re just as interested in owning a home. They just waited longer to buy their first one,” says Bradley Nelson, chief marketing officer of Sotheby’s International Realty.
“In the past, people bought a modest property, lived in it until starting a family, and then traded up to a larger property,” he says. “Millennials are finally coming out of the gate, and it’s not uncommon for the first purchase as a first time homebuyer to be a multimillion-dollar luxury home in the U.S. or internationally.”
Millennials are the most educated generation in history, have higher earnings, and are set to inherit more than any prior generation, according to a May 2020 report by the Brookings Institute.
Older Millennials at 23% and Younger Millennials at 14% of the share of home buyers. Millennials have been the largest share of buyers since the 2014 report. Buyers 41 to 55 (Gen Xers) consisted of 24% of recent home buyers. This group continues to be the highest earning home buyers with a median income of $113,300 in 2019. For the report, buyers 56 to 65 (Younger Baby Boomers) and buyers 66 to 74 (Older Baby Boomers) were broken into two separate categories as they have differing demographics and buying behaviors. Buyers 56 to 65 consisted of 18% of recent buyers and buyers 66 to 74 consisted of 14% of recent buyers. Buyers 75 to 95 (The Silent Generation) represented the smallest share of buyers at 5%.
“Baby boomers are retiring to sunnier locales, while remote work has allowed millennials to ascend the housing ladder in smaller, more affordable cities,” says a new report from Sotheby’s on global luxury in 2021. “An emphasis on things like sustainability will certainly go into overdrive with the aging of millennials, who, at 72.1 million, are the largest adult generation, with unique consumer preferences that will profoundly influence the direction of the luxury-housing market.”
All generations of buyers continued to utilize a real estate agent or broker as their top resource to help them buy and sell their home.