February 17, 2023

Where are Generations X, Y, and Z on the New Home Journey?

And what does it mean for real estate audience targeting?

Pitting generations against each other is a team sport, and it's a blood sport when it comes to real estate. Fortunately for real estate marketers looking for target audiences, generational stereotypes do not always hold. Our consumption habits are more powerfully shaped by where we are in our lives, regardless of when we were born.

Reality still bites for GenX, but now they can afford a bigger house.

We’ve broken down how well Generations X, Y, and Z, are set up for the current home market and how economic and cultural forces have—and haven’t—shaped their fortunes.

Generation X

This generation of so-called slackers has done pretty well for themselves. To start, they were the only generation to recover their wealth after the 2008 housing crash, according to the Pew Center. GenXers also have more buying power than any other generation and can afford to buy homes above the median price in 70 of the most populous US counties. 

According to the National Association of Realtors, they’re also the most likely to buy the largest homes. Why? GenXers are 28% more likely to have three children or more; growing children and teenagers want space. Considering their buying power and demanding family life, it’s no surprise Generation X is most likely to upsize.

Gen X are 28% more likely than other generations to have 3 or more children, according to Audience Town date. They're also the most likely to buy a bigger home.

The upshot: Marketers would be wrong to undervalue this often-overlooked generation. They have the highest average disposable income ($113,455, per Statista) and shoulder mid-life’s expensive responsibilities—raising families, helping older kids find and furnish first apartments, and potentially taking in aging parents. All told, GenX makes a rich real estate target audience.

Generation Y, aka Millennials

Millennials are famously single and untethered by children, having struggled to amass wealth as young adults. Now in their late 30s and early 40s, elder Millennials are finally reaching milestones that put them squarely within a real estate marketer’s target audience. They’re ready to get married, have children and look for a new and bigger place.

The first “digital” generation will research communities, browse listings, engage a realtor, and apply for a mortgage online. In some cases, Millennials sign real estate contracts after an exclusively virtual search. 

Millennials can afford homes above the median price in 39 of the most populous US counties, but they're more likely to rent.

Whether they rent or buy likely depends on where they are. Millennials can afford homes above the median price in 39 of the most populous US counties. But they’re more likely to rent than other generations.—according to RentCafe, 39% of rental applications came from Millennials. 

The upshot: Whether they’re renting or buying, Millennials are looking for homes that accommodate new and growing families—or just give them the space they’ve wanted for so long. Because they do so much online, they’ll generate more signals, making them easier to reach.

Generation Z

Most of this cohort—aged 10- to 25-years-old—aren’t ready to leave the family home. But older Zoomers are going their own way. They fall within a real estate target audience of people who are establishing their careers. And, while they earn less than older consumers, they’ll spend more to be close to the action.

While most Americans are moving away from expensive cities to lower-tax sunbelt states, GenZ is heading toward them. In 2022, GenZ renters boosted applications in San Francisco, Jersey City, NJ, Manhattan, NY, Philadelphia, and Boston. 

GenZ makes up 27% of apartment hunters nationwide. They want smart locks, connected homes, and property technology platforms.

Those older Zoomers make up 27% of apartment hunters nationwide, according to RentCafe, and they’re looking for a suite of amenities that fit their digital consumption habits. Must-haves include smart locks, connected homes, package delivery handling, and property technology platforms. That’s right, GenZ isn’t interested in face-to-face conversations with the super.

The upshot: GenZ, just starting out, have less money to spend overall (about $38,000), but they have fewer obligations at this life stage and can splurge on lifestyle, personal fashion, and home trends. And they’re the future of the housing market, so real estate marketers best pay attention.

Want to know more about consumers on the new home journey? We have the tools, data, and knowledge to help you find your ideal real estate target audience. Find out more here