Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

The Silent Generation: Downsizing Homes & Joining Senior-Related Housing

The Silent Generation, buyers ages 71 to 91 years, make up the smallest share of home buyers by generation at only eight percent of all home buyers in 2016. The median age for this group is 75 years old and they were born between 1925 and 1945. They tend to have the smallest families; 97 percent of these buyers have no children living at home under the age of 18 years and they make up the highest share of single male buyers at 10 percent. Of the generations, buyers 71 to 91 years buy fewer multi-generational home at 11 percent. For those that purchase a multi-generational home, the reason is for the health and caretaking of aging relatives at 21 percent.

The Silent Generation have the smallest share of first-time home buyers at only four percent, which is expected as they are the oldest in age. Correspondingly, they make up the largest share to move directly from a home that was owned at 91 percent. They also have the lowest median household income at $66,600, likely living off retirement funds. They manage their finances accordingly and buy homes with the second lowest median home price at $220,000. They also purchase the newest homes last year with a median age of 1999.


Buyers 71 to 91 years are also the largest share to buy a new home at 21 percent and the largest share to purchase for the amenities of new home construction communities (22 percent). These buyers are the most likely to purchase a duplex, apartment, or condominium at 17 percent and townhouse at nine percent. They are also the most likely to buy a home in senior-related housing at 24 percent. The neighborhood influence with these buyers is the desire to own a home convenient to shopping (39 percent) and for the design of the neighborhood (29 percent). They are the least likely to buy homes in an area for the quality of the school district, convenient to schools, or the availability of larger lots of acreage. They are also the least likely to compromise on the condition of the home (13 percent). The Silent Generation makes up the largest share, on par with buyers 62 to 70 years, to buy in a small town at 24 percent.

The age group of buyers 71 to 91 years are the highest share among generations to purchase for the desire for a smaller home and to be closer to friends and family (both at 23 percent). In tandem with Millennials, they have the shortest expected tenure in the home with a median of 10 years. They are the most likely to move due to a household member’s health and least likely to move for a nicer home with added features or to outgrow home.