A quick glance at the NAR’s 2022 Generational Trends Report will show that millennials and baby boomers in numbers represent the largest percentage of buyers and sellers, respectively. These two groups are often the focus of marketers and researchers looking to best articulate the homebuyer profile.
However, the power and influence of Gen X is not to be understated.
Used to describe the generation born between 1965 and 1980 (according to most definitions), this demographic wedged between boomers and millennials is referenced by several unfavorable titles: the forgotten generation, the “latchkey” generation, and the less-common moniker, the “13ers,” referring to the 13th generation born after the American Revolution.
This generational middle-child has seen and experienced a lot.
Though Gen X was saddled by debt as a result of the economic downturns of the last few decades, this group is gaining a noted foothold in the performance aspects of today’s market.
According to the NAR, Gen X and younger boomers delayed their home purchase the longest (five years) due to debt. However, Gen X was the only generation to rebound and recover the wealth lost during the housing crash.
Gen X is viewing the most homes, purchasing the most expensive properties and are overall very smart about their home-purchasing decisions.
Here are some fast facts about Gen X that every real estate agent should freshen up on before taking them on as a potential client.
Peak earning years
According to the NAR, Gen X represented the highest earners and the highest shares of married couples. The median income for this cohort was $125,000 as of 2020, compared to older millennials at $110,300. With this added income, Gen X is buying the most expensive and the second-largest homes, averaging $320,000 and 2,300 square feet, respectively.
Since Gen X is also categorized as the highest shares of sellers, agents could not only reap the benefits of representing a buyer with a high-spending cap, but foreseeably make two deals with this client in selling off their first-time homes for more expansive properties.
The majority of Gen X buyers ages 42-56 purchased multi-generational homes. Not only is this generation taking care of their aging parents, but they also represent the largest demographic with children/relatives over the age of 18 who never left home. This makes them extremely cost-conscious as a result.
This family-focused group makes for a strong and reliable clientele. Because this generation prefers function over form, agents should pitch a homes’ functional spaces—such as having multiple bedrooms on the first floor, a universal design scheme and access to family-oriented public spaces. Pitching master-planned communities with added amenities might be an avenue to consider.
Most racially diverse
Though this group is much smaller in numbers than their millennial and boomer counterparts, they represent the most racially and ethnically diverse buyers in the market today. According to NAR, 23% of Gen X buyers identify as something other than White/Caucasian.
A diverse clientele has its own set of needs and market challenges. It is important for agents to read up on diversity reports and statistics—such as the State of Housing In Black America annual data reports, Freddie Mac’s trends, needs and solutions for minority classes and other socially responsible efforts in order to educate themselves in understanding and navigating barriers to homeownership.
Older Gen Xers were more likely to interview up to three agents before committing to one. This fiercely independent, super cautious generation tends to see every major decision as a long-term investment, most preferring to upscale to larger homes to accommodate the growing needs and changes of their families as an economically viable solution.
For most of this generation, they’ve been around the real estate rodeo at least one other time before. Therefore, Gen X clients tend to not need a ton of hand-holding, so you’ll be certain this client understands all the ins and outs of a home purchase before making their next one. Expect a less-labor intensive process with Gen X clients and prepare to give them hard-market facts—which is highly important to this versed group of buyers.
Though they are not the social-media generation that came after them, they are still tech-savvy. Which is why a polished, detailed website is crucial to drawing in clients of this demographic. This group prefers face-to-face interaction—in the dual sense that they are most likely to attend open houses and prefer to negotiate in person, but this generation also is highly active on Facebook.
Materialize more clients in this group by pitching neighborhood perks, how to grow their money and DIY-home improvement ideas on your social media posts. Prioritize staging services so when a Gen X client does want to attend an open house, they can get the full-picture.