For younger homebuyers, the most important factors in choosing a property are convenience to jobs, affordability, and quality of the local school district. For older buyers, what matters most are proximity to friends, family, and health care facilities.
Call it a generation gap.
A recent survey by the National Association of Realtors found sharp differences in the choices made by younger and older homebuyers, reflecting different life situations and changing priorities.
Younger buyers choose older homes. As age of the buyer increases, the age of the home declines, with younger buyers tending to choose single-family homes and older buyers opting for townhouses and condos.
Among homebuyers age 32 and younger, 79 percent are buying their first property, compared with only 5 percent among buyers ages 67 to 87. The percentage drops reliably as homebuyers get older, until those age 88 and above. Then, curiously, the trend reverses course. Among the eldest senior citizens, 13 percent of homebuyers are finally ready to take the plunge.
There are many reasons for purchasing a home, but younger buyers tend to want a home of their own, while older buyers want to downsize and also to be closer to family and friends.
Younger buyers don’t move far from their previous homes, often staying within 10 miles. Older buyers move longer distances, typically more than 20 miles from their previous residences.
Commuting costs are important to younger buyers. Older buyers place a higher importance on landscaping for energy conservation and environmentally friendly community features.
As buyers get older, they are less willing to make compromises with their home purchase. Younger buyers tend to make sacrifices on the price, size, and condition of the home purchased.
Older sellers are more likely to reduce the asking price for their home but are less likely to offer other incentives such as home-warranty policies or assistance with closing costs.
Younger sellers typically want their real estate professional to help sell their home within a specific time frame, while older sellers are more likely to want help marketing the home to potential buyers.