Good news! The generation famous for approaching adulthood and sighing “whatever” is well on its way to achieving the American Dream –– or at least its own version of it.
But what do Gen Xers value? What makes them tick? How can we cater to this curious cohort of slackers-turned-CEOs?
Born between 1965 and 1980, Generation X witnessed the 1980 recession, the 2008 housing crisis, and a global pandemic. Still saddled with student debt in midlife, many are caring for both kids and parents.
Despite these challenges, the Gen X age group is emerging as a highly motivated segment of buyers and sellers. Finally in their peak earning years, these latchkey kids are embracing the opportunities of home ownership.
Gen X by the numbers
While not the largest U.S. generation, Gen X does hold the top spot for most highly educated with 35 percent having college degrees. Highly entrepreneurial, 55 percent of startup founders are also part of this generation.
According to NAR’s annual generational trends report, Gen Xers accounted for 24 percent of recent home buyers, are the highest earners with a median income of $113,300, and purchased homes at a median price of $305,000. Impressive, considering many are paying down student loans averaging $30,000 and credit card debt averaging $11,898.
This “sandwich generation” is also caring for multiple generations. While 61 percent still have children under 18, nearly half are expecting to look after aging parents as well.
The most racially and ethnically diverse population of home buyers, 23 percent of Gen Xers identify as a race other than Caucasian.
Gen X home preferences
During the housing crisis of the early 2000s, many Gen Xers were just entering the market. Instead of building equity like their parents did, they weathered a crash that wiped out nearly half of their wealth. According to Pew Research, however, they’re also the only generation to have fully recovered what they lost in the downturn.
Gen Xers are using this second chance to buy large homes with plenty of versatility in places that suit their active lifestyle. The most popular metros currently include Memphis, Jacksonville, and Atlanta, according to a LendingTree survey.
As for size, research shows that the average Gen Xer living in a 1,880-square-foot home would prefer something larger, a single-level home at 2,315 square feet to be exact.
The number of Americans living in multigenerational households rose from 12 percent to 20 percent in the past few decades and Gen X is now leading this trend. The reasons are multifold. For some, there are kids still living at home. For many others, grown children have returned. Add to that the growing (and possibly permanent) need for private workspaces and home gyms and multi-functional houses make perfect sense.
Selling Gen X
No longer America’s “neglected middle child,” Gen X is poised to become the wealthiest generation in just a few years. So what’s the best way to win their business and loyalty?
Growing up without the internet, Gen X values online research and tends to do a lot of it before starting the home search. With 81 percent using Facebook, it behooves agents to maintain a robust business page with a brand identity that carries seamlessly across marketing materials.
Though digitally savvy, Gen X relies heavily on the expertise of a real estate agent when they’re ready to buy or sell. According to NAR, 92 percent of sellers recently surveyed used an agent and many of those used a full-service agent who “managed most aspects of the sale.”
Having weathered financial hardships, they’re careful and cautious about making major purchases. This is a great opportunity for agents to fill in knowledge gaps, offer guidance, and be a source of comfort during challenges and setbacks.
Known for being loyal to brands they love, wowing Gen Xers with a positive real estate experience can foster a lucrative, long-term partnership.
At work, the Gen X age group tends to be direct, collaborative, and comfortable with feedback. They also treasure work-life balance. With that in mind, conversations about real estate options should be honest and open. Communication should be prioritized. And focus on housing features that make life enjoyable, especially for clients who plan to work from home indefinitely, would certainly be appreciated.
According to NAR, sellers 55 and younger often upgraded to a more expensive home, but stayed relatively nearby. Agents who are super knowledgeable about the local economy, infrastructure, housing options, and more have the chance to stand out.
Weichert broker-owners have loads of experience tailoring services to all generations –– from new college grads to clients exploring retirement. Learn more about our depth of expertise here.