After taking it on the chin for housing, Gen X finding it may be their turn
Posted On March 21, 2017
There’s a lot of attention paid to millennials in the marketplace, and with good reason – they’re the largest segment of consumers. That’s true for the housing market, as well, as the 18-to-34 demographic makes up 42 percent of residential home buyers, as pointed out by Zillow.com’s Jennifer Riner in a piece we shared several months ago.
But Generation X is still an extremely important part of the real estate market. With a range from mid-30s to mid-50s, many younger Gen-Xers may still be looking to move up to a larger home as their families expand, while those Gen-Xers at the older end of the range are starting to think about downsizing as their offspring leave the nest.
And it was Generation X that may have been hit hardest by the housing crisis of the late 2000s, as many were relatively new homeowners with the ink still wet on their mortgages. The Huffington Post cited an 2016 Urban Institute report which found that 19 million Americans currently renting a house had been former homeowners and nearly a quarter of those had lost their homes to foreclosure in the housing crisis.
Just over half of those foreclosures affected homeowners between the ages of 36 and 55.
But Forbes contributor Troy McMullen noted this month that things may be looking up for Gen-X homebuyers. McMullen cited a National Association of Realtors study which found that an improving economy, sustained job growth, and an increase in home values in many markets resulted in a greater share of home-buying from Generation X in the last year.
Gen-X home-buyers made up 28 percent of purchases this year, up from 26 percent last year and the highest share since 2014. Millennials made up the largest share at 34 percent, but that was down slightly from last year.
The improved job security and economic outlook made Gen-Xers confident enough to look at finally trading up or making the move to downsize. The rising property values made it possible, finally helping them build enough equity to make selling their home a feasible proposition.
And hopefully, some of that increase was also those renters displaced by the housing crisis rejoining the ranks of homeowners.