The Median Age of Repeat Buyers Is ‘Skyrocketing’
January 15, 2020
The median age of a home buyer has risen from 31 in 1981 to 47 in 2019, according to research from the National Association of REALTORS®.
But the median age of the segment of first-time buyers has actually changed very little over the past three decades, staying between 28 to 32.
Instead, the number that has changed the most significantly since 1981 is the rise in the age of repeat buyers, Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights at the National Association of REALTORS®, notes in a post at NAR’s latest Economists’ Outlook blog. The median age of repeat buyers was 36 in 1981; it’s now 55.
Lautz points to several reasons behind the age increase. “Many are staying in their homes for longer periods of time—either because they want to or because they had to as their home was worth less than their mortgage after the Great Recession,” Lautz writes. “Tenure holding a home increased from six to seven years and is now at 10 years. Also, Americans are living and working longer, so the idea of moving and purchasing a new home, even with a mortgage, is a trend many feel comfortable doing past the traditional retirement age.” Lautz also notes that many parents are remaining in their family home longer as adult children return back after college to live with them, delaying a decision to downsize.
When the “repeat buyer” does finally commit to a new home, many say they don’t plan to move again for 15 to 20 years, the research shows.
“Age of Buyers Is Skyrocketing … But Not for Who You Might Think,” National Association of REALTORS® Economists’ Outlook blog (Jan. 13, 2020)
Updated: February 21, 2020