Age, Other Factors Make a Difference in What Buyers Want

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When you prepare your home for sale, try to visualize who the potential buyer could be and what they may want. If your decor is overly masculine, you may alienate single women buyers, which is the second largest group after couples. If it is dated or too personalized, it may clash with buyers' taste.
Baby Boomers
Since they were born, baby boomer demographics have dominated any market they entered. The 50

When you prepare your home for sale, try to visualize who the potential buyer could be and what they may want. If your decor is overly masculine, you may alienate single women buyers, which is the second largest group after couples. If it is dated or too personalized, it may clash with buyers' taste.

Baby Boomers

Since they were born, baby boomer demographics have dominated any market they entered. The 50 plus real estate market is no different. Generation Boomer, born in 1946 to 1965, still outnumbers Gen X. With 80 million boomers out there, it nearly matches the young generation of the Echo Boom (the boomers’ babies) that followed. This mature market has incredible buying power. Older boomers have a median net worth about $250,000—enough money for a second home. Since they have lots of money and between 75% and 80% already own a home, there is a strong demand for baby boomer vacation homes.

Young and Hip

They’re called Generation X, Generation Y, the millennials or even the internet generation and they grew up in a world of technology and matured in a time when home ownership was increasingly popular and accessible. Gen X came after the baby boomers and Gen Y followed X. They’re getting married later than their parents, but that hasn’t stopped them from buying homes on their own. Only 61% of home buyers are married.

Instead, these young, fashionable single men and women are buying apartments on their own. Nearly 70% of those aged 35-45 own homes and the rate of under 35’s buying a home has been creeping up for the last decade. The median age for the first time buyer is 32. Young home buyers tend to purchase older, small homes closer to cities. These young and hip singles are gravitating toward urban centers, often buying condos and co-ops. These younger buyers have reversed the trend of urban flight and are moving back downtown, where they can walk to bars, restaurants and maybe work.

Retired and Hip

Today more seniors are dreaming of an active retirement in their own home. The Census Bureau expects that by 2030 America will be home to more than 70 million retirees, double the number of retired Americans in 2000. The growing number of baby boomer and Gen X retirees will create a new market for retirement living.

The retired and hip may want to live in more manageable home, either in their own community or an easier climate. Florida, the traditional retirement destination, is losing ground to areas that offer more culture or better weather. The southwest and the Carolinas are now popular retirement destinations. Hip and trendy Nevada has seen its senior population grow by 71% from 1990 to 2000.

Immigrants’ Aspirations

Immigrants helped spur the real estate boom and are expected to play an even bigger role in the real estate market of the 21st century as their numbers swell. Cities and states across the country are seeing a larger foreign-born population. In Florida, California and other big states, immigrants are making on outsized contribution to population growth, one of the key factors in pushing up real estate demand (and prices).

Owning a home in a new community can help make an immigrant feel more secure and part of the community. As the immigration debate rages and some communities enact laws punishing landlords for renting to illegal immigrants, some immigrants have responded by buying property.

Among Hispanics, Asians and blacks, new immigrants are more likely to own a home than someone born in the U.S. Research shows that the longer an immigrant has been here, the more likely they are to own a home. Nearly 80% of people who emmigrated to the United States 40 or more years ago own a home now.

With larger families, Hispanic families are pushing the need for bigger houses.

Still, only about half of Hispanics own homes compared to three-quarters of whites. That suggests the Hispanic housing market may be getting ready to buy more homes. During the next two decades minorities will account for two-thirds of growth in the home-buyers market.

International Vacationers

For American buyers, housing prices may seem expensive. International vacationers have a different perspective. Because of the declining value of the U.S. dollar, American homes seem cheap to many Europeans or Asians looking for a second home. According to a survey, about 38% plan to use their American home as a vacation property, 37% plan to rent it out, and 10% plan to use their second home for work. One development in Manhattan, for example, marketed its new apartments to Irish homebuyers looking for a pied-a-terre in New York.

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