BAM Key Details: 

  • The National Association of Realtors® has released its 2024 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report, showing millennials in the lead, surpassing baby boomers and accounting for 38% of all homebuyers. 
  • Baby boomers account for the largest share of today’s home sellers at 45%.

The National Association of Realtors just released the 2024 edition of its annual Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report

It also sheds some light on what the NAR settlement is most likely to change—and what it will not. For instance, sellers across all generations still, by an overwhelming margin, choose to work with a real estate agent. 

Also, the majority of sellers are likely to work with the same agent as before or recommend them to others. And referrals are the number one method for finding an agent. 

All the more reason for agents to approach the agent-client relationship as a lifetime support partner—not just someone who makes the home sale transaction go more smoothly.  

Read on for the highlights of the report. 

2024 Home seller trends

Baby boomers are still the largest generation of home sellers, accounting for 45% of all sellers in 2023. Younger boomers, with a median age of 64 and a median income of $103,000, made up 26% of home sellers, one of the largest shares of sellers. 

Gen Xers, with a median age of 52, represented the second largest share at 23%.

Nearly seven out of ten sellers (65%) were married couples. This demographic was highest among older millennials, accounting for 77% of sellers age 34 to 43. 

Among all surveyed home sellers, the most commonly cited reasons for selling their home were—

  1. Desire to move closer to friends and family (23%)
  2. Need or desire for a larger home (13%)
  3. Change in family situation (10%)
  4. Neighborhood has become less desirable (9%)
  5. Home is too large (9%)
  6. Job relocation (8%)
  7. Moving due to retirement (8%)
  8. Upkeep of home is too difficult (due to health or financial limitations) (5%)
  9. Moving closer to current job (3%)
  10. Can’t afford the mortgage and other expenses tied to previous home (2%)
  11. Schools became less desirable (1%)
  12. Other (11%)

Older generations were more likely to prioritize moving closer to family and friends, while younger generations were more likely to sell in pursuit of a larger home. 

For homes sold recently, the final sale price was a median 100% of the final listing price. Thirty-two percent of sellers reduced their asking price at least once, with 35% of the Silent Generation making at least one price cut, compared to 26% of older millennials. 

Nearly a quarter of all sellers (23%) offered buyer incentives. This varied across generational groups and was less likely for sellers of the Silent Generation and more likely among younger millennials. 

Homeownership tenure also varied by age group, with a 10-year median for all sellers. 

Across all generations, the largest share of sellers lived in their previous home for 21 years or more (25%), followed by— 

  • 4 to 5 years (14%)
  • 11 to 15 years (13%)
  • 2 to 3 years or (12%)
  • 6 to 7 years (12%)
  • 8 to 10 years (11%)
  • 16 to 20 years (11%)
  • 1 year or less (2%)

Older millennials stayed a median of six years before selling, while younger millennials stayed four years. Gen Xers (age 44 to 58), boomers (59 to 77) and the Silent Generation (78 to 98) typically lived in the same home for 15 years. 

Baby boomers continue to dominate the home-selling market as they make pivotal decisions regarding their retirement living situations, whether it’s right-sizing or moving closer to loved ones. Benefiting from longer periods of homeownership compared to other generations, boomers approach these transactions with substantial equity, enabling strategic housing trades.

Dr. Jessica Lautz

NAR deputy chief economist and vice president of research

Sellers and their agents

Eighty-nine percent of all U.S. home sellers enlisted the help of a real estate agent to sell their home. That figure is consistent across all generations. 

Among recent home sellers, 65% found their agent via a referral or used the same agent they had worked with in the past. That number increased to 67% for older millennial sellers. 

Other methods used to find a real estate agent: 

  • Website (without a specific reference) (5%)
  • Referred by another real estate agent/broker (4%)
  • Personal contact by agent (telephone, email, etc.) (4%)
  • Visited an open house and met agent (3%)
  • Direct mail (newsletter, flyer, postcard, etc.) (2%)
  • Referred through employer or relocation company (1%)
  • Saw contact information on a for sale/open house sign (1%)
  • Saw the agent’s social media page (without a connection (1%)
  • Newspaper, Yellow Pages, or home book ad (1%)
  • Advertising specialty (calendar, fridge magnet, etc.) (1%)
  • Other (11%)
NAR-Home-listed-on-MLS

Source: NAR

While some homeowners take the for-sale-by-owner route, 88% of sellers choose to list their homes on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), while 4% do not. Yard signs (with their obvious limitations) are next in line when it comes to getting the word out. 

The majority of home sellers in the U.S. turn to real estate professionals to help them—

  • Sell their home within a specific timeframe (22%)
  • Price their homes competitively (21%)
  • Market their homes to potential buyers (20%)
  • Identify ways to fix or improve their homes to sell them for more (14%)
  • Help find a buyer for their home (11%)
  • Help with negotiation and dealing with buyers (6%)
  • Help with paperwork/inspections/preparing for settlement (3%)
  • Help seller see homes available to purchase (1%)
  • Help create and post videos to provide a tour of the home (<1%)
  • Other (1%)

The chart below highlights the level of service received by homeowners from their real estate agents, with 85% of all sellers reporting a “broad range of services and management of most aspects of the home.” The Silent Generation (89%) and younger millennials (88%) were most likely to say they received this level of service. 

Meanwhile, only 8% of all sellers indicated their agent only listed the home on the MLS and did little besides, while 7% rendered a “limited set of services as requested by the seller.”

NAR-Sellers-Level-of-service-provided-by-real-estate-agent

Source: NAR

At 10%, boomers were the most likely to say they received a minimal level of service from their agent, while younger millennials were least likely. The report doesn’t mention whether the sellers involved requested a higher level of service or not. 

Naturally, though, the high number for full-service agents provides a nice segue to the next topic: repeat business and referrals. 

Repeat business and referrals among both buyers and sellers

Across all age groups, nine out of ten buyers (90%) say they would either definitely (75%) or probably (15%) work with the same real estate agent in a future transaction or recommend them to others. 

NARj-Would-buyer-use-agent-again-or-recommend-to-others

Source: NAR

Among sellers, 87% say they’re likely to reuse or refer their real estate agent. At 74%, older millennials were the age group most likely to “definitely” recommend their agent. 

Also, the typical seller has recommended their agent to someone once since selling their home, while 30% of all sellers recommended their agent three or more times. Among younger millennials, that figure jumped to 38%. 

NAR-Would-seller-use-agent-again-or-recommend-to-others

Source: NAR

Speaking now of repeat business, 46% of all sellers used the same agent to buy and sell their homes. Among older generations, though, the number using the same agent declined as the distance between their previous address and their new one increased. 

Thirty-eight percent of Silent Generation sellers used the same agent, compared to 66% of younger millennial sellers. 

NAR-Did-seller-use-same-agent-for-home-purchase

Source: NAR

Read the full report for more information, including methodology.