Millennials, Gen Xers, and Boomers in the Housing Market

Rylie Perrault

November 20, 2019
 Market Reports

Work-life balance, parenting, retirement—each generation handles these life challenges in a different way than the one before. And that helps explain just where each group is putting down roots.

Millennials are opting out of the bright lights, big city lifestyle for more affordable small cities. Baby boomers facing retirement want walkable communities with urban amenities, not just 55-plus developments. The perpetually forgotten Gen Xers? They’re splitting the difference, opting for larger and more expensive markets while they have the cash to do so.

But there’s a sea change happening as millennials, the largest U.S. generation ever, truly come into their own. It’s already having far-reaching repercussions across U.S. housing markets, according to a new report by the® economic team on home buying across generations.

“For the first time, we’re finally seeing evidence of millennials outcompeting older generations in more markets than not,” says Javier Vivas, director of economic research at “If millennials continue to grow [their market share] at this pace, we expect them to buy more homes than Gen X and baby boomers combined in the next year.”

Still, the major factors motivating buyers remain the same: growing families, the requirements of work, and the combined freedom and restraints of retirement.

“Life stages is what drives demand in housing,” Vivas says.

So which are the markets that have what each generation needs most to buy a home and build a life? To find out, the economic team looked at the current share of home mortgages taken out by each generation and the change in that share from last year. These were combined to yield a generational “score” that we used to rank housing markets seeing the most activity from each generation.

To see the breakdown in housing preferences between Millennials, Gen Xers, and Boomers, read the full article on