Older Baby Boomers are buying homes at a pretty good clip. That’s the finding of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 2020 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report.
NAR discovered that in 2019, older Baby Boomers accounted for 15 percent of all homebuyers. NAR defines older Boomers as between 65 and 73 years old, or those born between 1946 and 1954.
The two main reasons behind this age group’s purchase decisions are to be closer to family and friends and retirement. According to the Insured Retirement Issue, there were 34 million retired Baby Boomers in 2019. And by 2030, the U.S. Census Bureau says all Boomers be of retirement age.
Real estate and mortgage marketing often zeros in on younger homebuyers. Right now, that means Millennials are the focus of direct mail campaigns and social media posts. Before long, Generation Z will enter traditional homebuying age, and real estate agents and brokers will direct efforts at reaching this new group of first-time homebuyers.
But NAR’s recent findings show it might be too soon to write-off what was once the world’s largest generation.
What Older Baby Boomers Are Buying
Older Baby Boomers are buying homes. But what are they buying?
NAR says that 74 percent of older Boomers are buying homes in suburbs or small towns. Fifty-one percent are buying in suburban areas, followed by 23 percent in smaller towns.
And older Boomers are moving more than other homebuying groups. This transition connects to the main reasons they’re buying homes: retirement and to be near family. If your grandkids are in a different state, you might move after you retire to be near them. Or, you may move to a warmer, more tax-friendly state after retirement.
These buyers tend to favor new houses. They want to avoid the hassle of renovation, and they want to customize their homes to fit their needs better.
Unlike younger homebuyers, older Baby Boomers are less interested in the quality of the schools where they’re looking to buy. Instead, a neighborhood’s character and convenience to their friends and family matter most to them.
Also, 20 percent of older Baby Boomers started their homebuying process by contacting real estate agents. That’s the second-highest of any age group, following those aged 74+. Most younger homebuyers began by searching online. For example, just 12 percent of buyers in their 30s started by contacting an agent.
Takeaways for Brokers and Agents
As NAR points out, Millennials still make up the largest group of homebuyers. But that doesn’t mean agents and brokers should ignore older Baby Boomers.
About 50 million people are between the ages of 65 and 73. And 15 percent of them bought homes in 2019, roughly 7.5 million. That’s a lot of homebuyers.
More Boomers are heading toward retirement. They, too, might be looking to buy, or sell, their homes. (After all, NAR also found that older Baby Boomers were the second-largest group of home sellers in 2019.)
When planning your marketing strategy, consider carving an approach to make yourself accessible to older Baby Boomers. Here are some questions to think about:
- Does your content reflect your ability to meet older Boomers’ homebuying and selling needs?
- Are you showing a diverse group of people, including by age, in your marketing materials?
- Does your website meet accessibility standards, such as ensuring it’s usable by people who are hearing or vision impaired?
Yes, it’s illegal and wrong to target market housing based on age. That’s not what I’m suggesting that brokers and agents do.
Instead, be aware of the potential to serve a still-active homebuying demographic. Don’t ignore older Baby Boomers. Make sure you understand their needs. Publish content highlighting how you can help them, and ensure your website is accessible.
Doing so helps all homebuyers, regardless of age. And it can help to grow your business across all generations.
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