iStock photo illustration

Millennials have surged ahead to become the largest group of homebuyers, marking a significant shift in the housing market’s demographic landscape, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors.

The 2024 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends report, based on a survey of 6,817 responses from geographically representative recent homebuyers conducted in July 2023, found that the combined share of Millennials, both younger (ages 25 to 33) and older (ages 34 to 43), now make up a combined 38 percent of the home buying market, a substantial increase from 28 percent last year. Baby Boomers, comprising both younger Boomers (ages 59 to 68) and older Boomers (ages 69 to 77), saw their share decrease from 39 percent to 31 percent, relinquishing their position as last year’s largest demographic of home buyers.

“The generational tug-of-war between Millennials and Baby Boomers continued this year, with Millennials rebounding to capture the largest share of home buyers,” NAR deputy chief economist Jessica Lautz said in a statement. “This notable rise is attributed to both younger Millennials stepping into homeownership for the first time and older Millennials transitioning to larger homes that suit their evolving needs.”

The report underscored a rise in first-time buyers across many generations, with 32 percent of all buyers purchasing for the first time, an increase from 26 percent last year. Leading the charge were younger Millennials, whose proportion of first-time buyers increased from 70 percent to 75 percent over the past year. Forty-four percent of older Millennials and 24 percent of Generation X (ages 44-58) were first-time buyers.

Despite these shifts in buyer trends, Baby Boomers remained the largest home-seller generation, accounting for 45 percent of all sellers in 2023. The tenure of homeownership before making a sale varied significantly by generation. While the median among all buyers was a 10-year stay before selling, older Millennials typically sold their homes after just six years, contrasting sharply with Gen X, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation (ages 78-98), who typically stayed in their homes for 15 years.

“Baby Boomers continue to dominate the home-selling market as they make pivotal decisions regarding their retirement living situations, whether it’s right-sizing or moving closer to loved ones,” Lautz said. “Benefiting from longer periods of homeownership compared to other generations, Boomers approach these transactions with substantial equity, enabling strategic housing trades.”