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A guide to the 2017 buyer: Young Boomers

by Chip Bell

realtor.com-survey-homebuyer-generation-jones

As we mentioned in the last entry in our “A Guide to the 2017 Buyer” series (which covered Generation X, and before that Millennials) the question of “What does this year’s buyer look like?” is particularly pressing in 2017, and for one reason – the country will inaugurate a new president, one who promises to govern in a decidedly different manner from his predecessors; that could mean a decidedly different housing market.

In this entry, we continue to draw from a recent realtor.com survey and look at Young Boomers (ages 45 to 54), who, as our tables below illustrate, are seemingly divided into two camps: the measured buyer, and the hurried buyer.

Goals of Buying

The majority of buyers between the ages of 45 and 54 are simply looking for privacy; however, a fair amount are also still family focused, as was the case with all generations:

Buying Goals Ratings of Young Boomers
Privacy 22.81
Family 16.15
Stability 14.97
Financial investment 11.73
Physical comforts 10.65
*Based on average distributions of 100 rating points

Motivations for Buying

The smattering of motivations Young Boomer buyers referenced in their survey responses are more evenly distributed than the other generations, although their reasons varied between urgent and casual. On the casual side of things, 25 percent were simply tired of their current home, and 17 percent were intrigued by low interest rates. Meanwhile, 34 percent cited either changes in family circumstances or a decrease in family size, which are more urgent reasons.

Motivations for Buying Share of Young Boomers
Tired of current home 25%
Change in family circumstances 19%
Favorable interest rates 17%
Considering retirement 16%
Decrease in family size 15%

Time Frame for Purchases

If we accept that Young Boomers’ motivations are split between the casual and the pressing, it makes sense that there was such a huge divergence between first two responses when it came to purchase timing. More than 40 percent want their purchase to happen within three months, while nearly 30 percent are fine with it nearing or even exceeding a year’s time.

Time Frame for Purchases Share of Young Boomers
1-3 months 39%
10-12 months 20%
4-6 months 16%
13-18 months 9%
Within 1 month 4%

Most Preferred Purchases

No generation cared more about construction quality than Young Boomers – Older Boomers cared the second most (10.6 rating points), while every other generation allotted an average of 9 points or lower.

Most Preferred Purchases Ratings of Young Boomers
Quality of construction 11.559
Larger yard 11.086
Safer neighborhood 9.407
Energy efficiency 7.254
Lower cost per square foot 6.948
*Based on average distributions of 100 rating points

Location Preference

Young Boomers were also unique in their disregard for the location of their new home, with 23 percent citing they had no preference. However, given that they’re largely looking for big yards (11-point rating) and safe streets (9.4-point rating), it’s likely many will end up in the suburbs.

Location Preference Share of Young Boomers
No preference 23%
Outlying suburbs 22%
Suburbs (closer to urban core) 19%
Rural area 18%
Small town 14%
Urban area 5%

Property Type Preference

Like every other generation, Young Boomers remain committed to the detached single-family home.

Property Type Preference Share of Young Boomers
Single-family home 63%
Townhouse/Rowhouse 20%
Condo/apartment 9%
Mobile 4%
Multifamily 4%

Impediments to Purchase

For agents working with Young Boomers, there is a great opportunity to show value, as most (78 percent) see the biggest hindrance to their eventual purchase as either a current lack of information or inventory (i.e., just starting their search, can’t find the right house or the right neighborhood). A savvy agent will see this as an opportunity to provide options with they seem to be exhausted.

Impediments to Purchase Share of Young Boomers
Just starting to explore 32%
Haven’t found a house that meets needs 28%
Can’t find home in budget 23%
Bad credit score 19%
Haven’t decided on a neighborhood 18%

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