Homebuying trends among Gen X

by Lauren Brocato

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As millennials begin to take over the homeowning population, Generation X buyers are making up a smaller portion of the housing market, accounting for just 30 percent of it.

MetroStudy partnered with Zillow to discover and analyze trends in the housing market among Gen X, those age 38 to 52, in their 2017 Consumer Housing Trend Report.

A significant aspect of the homebuying process today is the role of technology. Millennials saw the birth of the computer evolve into the web which then turned into technology that transformed the homebuying market. Unlike them, Generation X grew up without the convenience or knowledge of technology and therefore are not accustomed to the integration of technology in everyday life, specifically in the homebuying process. To no surprise, the study revealed that the use of online resources in the home market decreases as buyers get older. But, a significant amount of Gen X buyers were found to use online resources, as 79 percent of them said that they do. But only 59 percent of Gen X buyers use mobile resources during their search for a home, compared to the 77 percent of millennials that do so.

Almost a third of Gen X buyers want to be the first ones to live in their home. While 30 percent of them seek new construction homes, 26 percent want one within the $200,000 to $300,000 range while 23 percent look for a home in the $300,000 to $400,000 range. Gen X buyers were also found to be the age group entering the buying process with the most specific requirements for their new homes, demanding specific square footage or a certain number of bedrooms.

Working with Gen X buyers

Because of the fact that Gen X buyers do not use technology as much as the younger generation, they were found to take a bit longer searching for a home, an average of 17.8 weeks. To Gen X, mobile communication not so much an integral part of life as it is to millennials. That being said, Gen X buyers are still quite mobile-centric, with 59 percent of them using mobile resources during their home search.

The needs of buyers have evolved over generations. While the priorities among the millennial generation range from locations close to work to family friendly neighborhoods, Gen X buyers approach with different priorities in mind. The study indicates that Gen X seeks homes that have the exact desired number of bedrooms, is spacious inside and out and is in a safe school district and neighborhood.

The study also found that home sales with potential Gen X buyers go best when safe and stable investors are involved and the home is staged as ‘kid-centric’ even beyond the bedrooms. Agents selling to families with children can also benefit from highlighting large areas where family gatherings can take place pointing out and spots for older kids to hang out, as noted in the report. An ideal setting for elite Gen X buyers is within close proximity to nightlife and fitness centers, the report noted. When marketing to these potential buyers, presenting yourself as best in class, equipped with pamphlets and buyer reviews. These potential buyers work well with offerings that are cutting edge and centered around being new and first, including incentives marked with deadlines.