Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Gen Xers: Purchased Multigenerational & the Biggest Homes

Gen Xers, buyers aged 39 to 53 years, made up the second largest share of home buyers by generation at 24 percent of all home buyers in 2018, (down from 26 percent last year). The median age for this group was 45 years old and they were born between 1965 and 1979. They tended to have the largest families in the past, but were surpassed by Older Millennials this year. Fifty-six percent of these buyers had one or more children under the age of 18 years living at home—23 percent had two children under 18 years at home—and they made up the second largest share of buyers that were married couples at 65 percent. The primary reasons that Gen Xers purchased homes was the desire to own a home of their own, job-related relocation, and the desire for a larger home.

Gen Xers surpassed Younger Boomers this year and purchased the greatest share of multi-generational homes at 16 percent. They also made up the largest share that purchased detached single-family homes at 88 percent and had the highest median household income at $111,100, boosted by double income couples. They purchased homes in accordance with their incomes and bought the most expensive homes of all generations—a median home price of $277,800. This generation of buyers also purchased the largest homes in size at a median square feet of 2,100.

Buyers 39 to 53 years were also the most racially and ethnically diverse group of home buyers, with 25 percent identifying as a race other than White/Caucasian. This group also had the highest percentage of home buyers that speak another language besides English. Twelve percent of buyers 39 to 53 years were not born in the United States.

Gen Xers purchased new homes to avoid renovations and problems with plumbing and electricity and previously owned homes for a better overall value. These buyers purchased a short median distance from their previous home at a median of 11 miles. Gen Xers were the second most likely to purchase in neighborhoods that were convenient to schools. They also searched for a median of 10 weeks viewing a median of 10 homes.

Gen Xers primarily used savings and proceeds from a previous sale for the downpayment of their home purchased. However, these buyers were delayed five years from purchasing a home due to debt. Twenty-four percent of buyers 39 to 53 were delayed five years and 30 percent were delayed more than five years from buying a home. Of the buyers that said saving for the downpayment was the most difficult step in the buying process, 46 percent had credit card debt and 21 percent had childcare expenses, more than other generations. This group of buyers also had the highest median amount of student loan debt at $30,000, equal to Older Millennials. This group of buyers canceled vacations more than other age groups in order to save for a home. Gen Xers also had the highest share that sold a distressed property at 13 percent, primarily in 2011. Buyers 39 to 53 used a fixed-rate mortgage at 92 percent.

Gen Xers was the largest share of home sellers at 25 percent. They also had the highest median household income among sellers at $123,600 and sold homes at $250,000. Among Gen Xers sellers, 15 percent wanted to sell earlier but could not because their home was worse less than their mortgage. Gen X sellers’ tenure in the previous home was a median of nine years. Gen X sellers were the most racially and ethnically diverse of the generations. Their primary reasons for selling were that the home was too small, a job relocation, a change in family situation, and the neighborhood was less desirable.