Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Gen X: Millennials Are Not the Only Generation that Wants to Buy

While Millennials, or Gen Y, are the largest group of homebuyers, Gen X is also an important generational group. For starters they comprise 26 percent of recent buyers and are the most racially and ethnically diverse population of buyers[1]. They also are in their peak income-making years and have the highest median priced home of all other buyers and the largest homes in median square footage and bedrooms. According to the latest HOME (Housing Opportunities and Market Experience) Survey, they are more certain than Millennials that buying a home is a good financial decision at 90 percent, and less sure than buying a home is part of their American dream at 87 percent.

More Gen X respondents own than rent, at 66 to 30 percent respectively. However, like Millennials, those that aren’t buying cite the inability to afford to buy a home as their main reason for not doing so.  The circumstances that would have to change for them to become homeowners in the future was twofold: an improvement in their financial situation and a lifestyle change such as marriage, starting a family or new job situation were both tied at 29 percent. When asked if they ever want to own a home in the future, 88 percent answered yes.

Looking at regional attitudes towards buying, Gen X is fairly optimistic across the board although there are differences. In the Northeast, 86 percent feel that buying a home is a good financial decision while 79 percent feel ownership is part of their American dream. In the Midwest, 93 percent feel that buying is a good financial decision while 86 percent believe owning is part of their American dream. In the South, 90 percent feel that buying is a good financial decision and that ownership is part of the American dream for 91 percent. Finally, in the West 92 were percent in favor of buying as good financial decision and 86 percent believe owning is part of their American dream.

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