If you stick around long enough, almost anything can happen. For the first 19 years of my real estate career, I was able to say I had never seen prices go down, only up. For the next 16 years I was able to say that I had never seen prices go down significantly or for long. But the last recession was really deep and stark and tragic, and I saw the real estate industry talk about the extent of the damage that had been done to the American Dream , and how Gen X , (born between 1965 and 1979), and Gen Y or Millennials, (born between 1980 and 2000), weren’t going to want to buy after seeing foreclosures and short sales and bankruptcies (oh my!) .
Iconoclasts galore predicted a “recession mentality” similar to the “depression mentality’ found in children of the 1930’s – but this time youth forgoes home ownership in favor of perpetual renting and a more transient life style. Me? I was skeptical. I remembered how my first home purchase was fueled by the impending birth of my son and my desire to provide him with a house to grow up in. I felt that similar life events would engender similar reactions in young people today. And after 40 plus years in real estate, I can still stay that people that own real estate , over the long term reap tremendous financial benefits, in spite of the financial fluctuations of the economy during that term.
Now, NAR through its research department, has found that consumer behavior is validating my thought process. According to the inaugural 2013 National Association of Realtors® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends, while eight out of 10 recent buyers considered their home purchase a good financial investment, younger buyers under the age of 32 were even more positive with 85 percent of them feeling that way.
These young buyers comprise a large portion of the recent real estate activity.The study found that the largest group of recent buyers was Gen X , (born between 1965 and 1979), who comprised 31 percent of recent purchases, followed closely by Millennials, (born between 1980 and 2000), at 28 percent. At 6 out of 10 buyers, these confident young consumers are a force to be reckoned and will, I believe help the real estate recovery to be long term and healthy.
I love NAR’s research division and have always found their products to be useful in planning, operating and growing my real estate business, first as an agent and today as a broker, and the new report has useful and important information as well. For example the younger, Millennial home buyers had an average age of 28, their median income was $66,200 and they typically bought a 1,700-square foot home costing $165,000. The more established Gen X buyer was 39 years old, with a median income of $93,100, and purchasing a larger 2,100-square foot home costing $235,000. An agent of any age interested in selecting one of those groups would have a clearer idea of what properties and areas to become expert in to best serve those clients.
There may be indications that the average time between moves may decrease as GEN X and Y become an even greater influence in the real estate marketplace. It seems that the older the seller the longer the tenure in the home. Millennials moved from their previous home after a median stay of five years, Gen X-ers stayed 8 years, as opposed to Younger Boomers at 11 years, Older Boomers at 13 years, and the Silent Generation who kept their previous home for 15 years. With shorter buying and selling cycles, the future of the real estate market seems even stronger.
What do you think?