Who’s Looking To Buy Your House? Surprising Characteristics of Today’s Homebuyer

Shot of a man handing his wife the keys of their new home.
gradyreese / Getty Images

If you plan to sell your home any time soon, expect to see plenty of interest from millennials and people with high salaries — and get offers from more single females than single males. According to a new report from the National Association of Realtors, these groups make up an increasing percentage of the overall homebuyer market.

See: 10 Kitchen Renovations That Will Hurt Your Home’s Value
Find: 20 Genius Things Mark Cuban Says To Do With Your Money

The NAR’s 2022 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report found that millennials now make up 43% of homebuyers. That’s the most of any generation and up from 37% last year. Millennials are not only buying more homes than other age groups — they’re also continuing to transform the industry by searching the web for their homes. Nearly two-thirds of younger millennials (65%) found the home they ultimately purchased on the internet.

Much of the recent buying activity has been spurred by developments that took place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Some young adults have used the pandemic to their financial advantage by paying down debt and cutting the cost of rent by moving in with family. They are now jumping headfirst into homeownership,” Jessica Lautz, NAR’s vice president of demographics and behavioral insights, said in a press release. “While young buyers use new tech tools, they also use real estate agents at higher rates than other buyers to help find the right home and negotiate the terms of the transaction.”

Building Wealth

Read: 6 Alternative Investments To Consider for Diversification in 2022

Three out of five of recent buyers were married couples, 19% were single females, 9% were single males and 9% were unmarried couples. The highest share of unmarried couples were younger millennials at 21%.

Single-female buyers “significantly outnumbered” single-male buyers across all generations, the NAR report found. The highest percentage of single-female buyers, at 27%, was in the silent generation — those born between 1925 and 1945.

Other home buyer characteristics include the following:

  • 11% purchased a multi-generational home for one of three different reasons: to take care of and spend time with aging parents; because adult children moved back in; or for cost savings.
  • Gen Xers were the most racially diverse group of buyers in 2021, with nearly one-quarter (23%) identifying as Hispanic/Latino, Black/African American, Asian/Pacific Islander or other.
  • Younger millennials are the most educated group, with 84% holding at least a bachelor’s degree

Explore: As Home Prices Reach 34-Year Record, Mortgage Rates Could Be Final Nail in Coffin for Some Homebuyers

Meanwhile, rapidly rising home prices in the United States have left many would-be buyers on the sidelines. According to the NAR report, over half of buyers (60%) earned median annual incomes of $85,000 or higher. Half earned six-figure incomes.

Those earning $55,000 or less made up only 17% of overall buyers — a striking statistic, considering that the median yearly income of the nation’s 117.5 million full-time wage and salary workers was about $54,000 during the 2022 first quarter, according to data published last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Building Wealth

Generation X had the highest median household income among homebuyers at $139,000. This generation also bought the most expensive and second-largest homes, at a median price of $320,000 and median size of 2,300 square feet. Older millennials purchased the largest homes at 2,400 square feet, and the silent generation bought the smallest at 1,800 square feet.

Across all generations, the largest share of buyers purchased in suburban areas (51%) and small towns (20%).

The most common reasons for recently purchasing a home varied by generation. For all homebuyers younger than 57, the main reason for purchasing was the desire to own a home of their own. Among those 57 and older, the top reason was a desire to closer to friends and family, followed by the desire for a smaller home.

More From GOBankingRates

Share this article:

Building Wealth

About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
Learn More