The share of baby boomers has surpassed millennials and now makes up the largest generation of homebuyers, according to the latest study from the National Association of Realtors.
The 2023 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends report, which examines the similarities and differences of recent homebuyers and sellers across generations, found that the combined share of younger boomer (58 to 67 years old) and older boomer homebuyers (68 to 76 years old) rose to 39% in 2022, up from 29% the year prior. Younger millennials (24 to 32 years old) and older millennials (33 to 42 years old) have been the top group of homebuyers since 2014, but they saw their combined share fall from 43% in 2021 to 28% last year.
- Baby boomers now make up 39% of homebuyers—the most of any generation—an increase from 29% last year.
- Generation Z now makes up 4% of homebuyers, with 30% of Gen Z moving directly from a family member’s home into homeownership.
- When relocating, all generations are moving farther distances, with younger boomers (ages 58-67) moving the greatest distance at a median 90 miles away.
"Baby boomers have the upper hand in the homebuying market," said Dr. Jessica Lautz, NAR deputy chief economist and VP of research. "The majority of them are repeat buyers who have housing equity to propel them into their dream home, be it a place to enjoy retirement or a home near friends and family. They are living healthier and longer and making housing trades later in life."
Some 26% of all homebuyers were first-time buyers, the lowest since NAR began tracking the data and a decrease from 34% last year. Some 70% of younger millennials and 46% of older millennials were first-time homebuyers. Behind these groups, only 21% of Generation X (aged 43 to 57 years old) and 9% of younger boomers were first-time purchasers.
Generation Z—ages 18 to 23—now makes up 4% of homebuyers, a slight increase from 2% in 2021. Nearly one in three Gen Z buyers (or 30%) moved directly from a family member's home into homeownership. Finding a location convenient to friends and family was most important to this specific cohort of buyers.
"As the youngest generation of homebuyers and sellers, it's encouraging to see Gen Z entering the market," Lautz said. "Their desire for homeownership is strong, and many are relying on family support systems to help make their first real estate purchase."
Generation X made up 24% of total homebuyers. They had the highest median household income of any generation ($114,300), followed by older millennials ($102,900).
In addition to leading the way in homebuying, baby boomers remained the largest home seller generation, jumping from 42% in 2021 to 52% in 2022. Among all generations, home sellers typically remained in their home for 10 years before selling, up from nine years in 2022. On average, younger millennials stayed in their homes for four years, while older boomers sold their homes after 16 years.
All generations agreed that the most common reason to sell was to be closer to friends and family. Older generations were also more likely to sell due to retirement, while younger generations cited the desire for a larger home and job relocation as the top reasons to sell their home.
On average, people are moving farther distances. Overall, homebuyers moved a median of 50 miles when relocating, the highest ever recorded and up significantly from 15 miles last year. Younger generations moved shorter distances, with younger and older millennials each typically moving 15 miles away. Younger boomers moved the furthest (90 miles), followed by older boomers (60 miles) and the silent generation (50 miles).
Overall, homebuyers expected to live in their homes for 15 years, up from 12 years in 2021. For younger millennials, the expected duration was only 10 years, compared to 20 years for younger and older boomers. Surprisingly, Generation Z expected to remain in their newly purchased home for 19 years.
Some 86% of all homebuyers purchased their homes through a real estate agent. This number was highest among younger boomers (90%) and Generation X (88%). Buyers from all generations agreed about the top reasons for using an agent: they wanted help finding the right home to purchase (49%), negotiating the terms of the sale (13%) and negotiating the price (11%). Younger (14%) and older (12%) millennials were most likely to want their agent to help with paperwork.
An estimated 88% of all homebuyers reported that they view a home purchase as a good investment. Some 74% of younger millennials and 77% of older millennials viewed a home as better than or about as good a financial investment as stocks.
Roughly 76% of homebuyers said that they would use their agent again or recommend their agent to others, a number that was consistent across all generations.
"Owning a home is more than just a financial investment. It's a symbol of stability, independence, and community that helps people build their lives and achieve their dreams," said NAR President Kenny Parcell, a Realtor from Spanish Fork, Utah, and broker-owner of Equity Real Estate Utah. "Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or an experienced investor, Realtors have the expertise and knowledge needed to provide valuable advice and help you make informed decisions about your purchase."
To read the full report, including more data, charts, and methodology, click here.