Older Homebuyer Trends in the Local Market

January 11, 2024 at 7:16 a.m.

According to ConstructionCoverage.com, which offers reviews and guides to help builders and real estate professionals, the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area has the 4th fewest homebuyers over age 55 in the country. On the other hand, the homebuying share of this population has been growing steadily for the past decade. Plus this older age group typically has advantages if they do decide to enter the market, such as greater accumulated savings and equity than many younger buyers have, especially in this market of inaequate housing supplies, increased prices and higher mortgage rates.

The aging of the Baby Boomer generation—defined as those born between 1946 and 1964—has driven the share of the U.S. population age 55 and older upward in recent years. This older segment of the population owns 57% of household real estate wealth in the U.S. as of Q4 2022. And more so than previous generations, older Americans are increasingly choosing to age in place, which means that fewer existing homes will end up on the market.

Older Americans’ decisions to stay out of the real estate market and age in place stand in stark contrast to younger generations, who represent a much larger share of homebuyers. Where younger people may look to buy a home to be closer to job opportunities or start a family, older people often have less urgency to move as they reach the end of their careers or their children grow up. And while young people may be eager to build equity through homeownership, older people may want to avoid moving when their housing costs have been locked in or their home is potentially paid off altogether. As a result, all Americans age 55 and older represent 20.7% of homebuyers—less than both the 25–34 cohort (30%) and the 35–44 cohort (27.2%).

Older buyers frequently do have advantages when they choose to enter the market. Most importantly, they tend to have greater accumulated savings or equity than many younger buyers, which makes it easier to afford a higher-priced home or secure affordable financing if needed. These advantages can put older buyers in a good position to purchase homes, even in the type of competitive environment the market has experienced recently.

The analysis found that 11.6% of homebuyers in the Seattle metro area are age 55 or older, with a median home purchase price of $625,000. Out of all large U.S. metros, Seattle has the 4th lowest percentage of homebuyers at least 55 years old. 

Here is a summary of homebuyer data for the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA metro area:

Percentage of homebuyers age 55+: 11.6%
Percentage of homebuyers age 65+: 4.0%
Percentage of homebuyers age 75+: 0.7%
Median home purchase price for homebuyers age 55+: $625,000

For reference, here are the statistics for the entire United States:

Percentage of homebuyers age 55+: 20.7%
Percentage of homebuyers age 65+: 8.0%
Percentage of homebuyers age 75+: 1.6%
Median home purchase price for homebuyers age 55+: $355,000

For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Construction Coverage’s website: https://constructioncoverage.com/research/cities-with-the-oldest-homebuyers-2023.

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