Millennials No Longer the Largest Generation of Homebuyers

Baby boomers have overtaken millennials as the largest generation of homebuyers.

Baby boomer homebuyers
(Image credit: Getty)

Millennials have long been the largest generation of homebuyers, but in 2022, they were overtaken by another generation... baby boomers.

This data was found from The National Association of Realtors Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report, which examined differences and similarities between varying generations of homebuyers and sellers, by mailing a 129-question survey to people who purchased a home between July 2021 and June 2022. The report was released this week.

Read on to see how baby boomers gained “the upper hand in the home buying market.”

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The largest generation of homebuyers

The latest report from the National Association of Realtors found that baby boomers are now the largest generation of homebuyers, beating out millennials for the first time in years. Combined, younger boomers (ages 58 to 67) and older boomers (ages 68 to 76), made up 39% of homebuyers in 2022. The year before, they made up only 29%.

Since 2014, millennials, both younger (ages 24 to 32)  and older (ages 33 to 42), were the top generation of home buyers. In 2021, this generation made up 43% of home buyers, but it fell to 28% in 2022.

"Baby boomers have the upper hand in the home buying market," NAR deputy chief economist and vice president of research Dr. Jessica Lautz said in the report release.

With mortgage payments reaching record highs this year, it’s becoming increasingly challenging for many people to become homeowners, although moving to one of the 25 cheapest cities might help. And although 30-year mortgage rates dropped in the last week and are no longer at their peak, they remain much higher than in 2020. From 2021 to 2022, the percentage of first-time home buyers dropped from 34% down to 26%.

Compare current mortgage purchase rates below.

The majority of baby boomers “are repeat buyers who have housing equity to propel them into their dream home,” according to Lautz. This could help explain why they’ve surpassed millennials as the largest generation of home buyers. They’ve also maintained their spot as the largest generation of home sellers, going from 42% in 2021 to 52% in 2022.

Additionally, from 2021 to 2022, the percentage of homeowners among the Gen Z cohort jumped by 100% — albeit from a very low base (from 2% to 4%). Gen X makes up 24% of total home buyers and is also the most racially diverse group of buyers. 

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Erin Bendig
Personal Finance Writer

Erin pairs personal experience with research and is passionate about sharing personal finance advice with others. Previously, she was a freelancer focusing on the credit card side of finance, but has branched out since then to cover other aspects of personal finance. Erin is well-versed in traditional media with reporting, interviewing and research, as well as using graphic design and video and audio storytelling to share with her readers.