Buyers Purchasing Older Homes

A picture of the front of an older home, with two large, bright green trees in the front yard behind an old picket fence.

© Jon Lovette - Stone / Getty Images

Homes in America are getting older. With new construction activity having declined for more than two decades, buyers are purchasing older homes. In 2021, the typical home purchased was built in 1993—28 years ago—according to new research from the National Association of REALTORS®. For comparison, in 2011, the typical home purchased was also built in 1993, suggesting that year was when home construction started to slow and the gap began to widen. 

The younger the buyer, the older the home purchased. “Young buyers are more likely to feel the financial pressure of rising home prices and the lack of affordable inventory are more willing to buy a fixer-upper,” says Jessica Lautz, NAR’s vice president of demographics and behavioral insights.

Twenty-three percent of first-time home buyers said they compromised on the condition of the home they purchased. They may have felt the need to compromise to find the best location, size, and price for a home.

Eleven percent of young millennials—between the ages 22 and 30—purchased a previously owned home as a fixer-upper, compared to just 3% of buyers over the age of 66, Lautz says. Repeat buyers are more likely to purchase newer homes that need less TLC, using the home equity from their previous home to stretch their budgets.

A bar chart showing the year a home was made, sorted by generation of buyers