Generation X suddenly started buying homes, increasing the generation's share of homebuyers significantly this year, according to the 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study by the National Association of Realtors.
This increase is credited to an improving economy, multiple years of strong job growth and the notable increase in home values in most markets, according to NAR’s study.
The 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study evaluates the generational differences of recent home buyers and sellers. It found that study debt is common among Gen X and Baby Boomers, and even slowed households from buying sooner.
While Millennials are most commonly referenced when looking at student debt, NAR’s new study shows Gen X households delayed buying longer than Millennials due to debt, and indicated they had the most student loan debt at over $30,000. Millennials were more likely to have student debt at 46%, however their average balance was lower at $25,000.
Much of the spotlight in recent years has focused on the several challenges Millennials are enduring on their journey to homeownership, NAR pointed out. Lost in this discussion are the numerous Generation X households who bought their first home, started a family and entered the middle part of their careers only to be rattled by job losses, falling home values and overall economic uncertainty during and after the Great Recession.
“Gen X sellers’ median tenure in their previous home was 10 years, which puts many of them selling a property they bought right around the time home values were on the precipice of declining,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.
“Fortunately, the much stronger job market and 41% cumulative rise in home prices since 2011 have helped a growing number build enough equity to finally sell and trade up to a larger home,” Yun said. “More Gen X sellers are expected this year and are definitely needed to ease the inventory shortages in much of the country.”
In fact, Gen X increased its share of homebuyers this year to 28%, up from 26% in 2016 and the highest share since 2014. Millennials, while the largest group of recent buyers for the fourth consecutive year, decreased slightly from 35% last year to 34%. Baby boomers followed with 30% of buyers and the Silent Generations made up 8%.