Gen X and Gen Y
Today, 1 in 3 buyers is younger than 35, according to the National Association of Realtors. And more than half are younger than 45.
"The biggest group in the market" of today's buyers were born from the mid-1960s to the mid-80s, says Nothaft.
In his own Southern California realty firm, Dick Gaylord has noticed that buyers are "primarily younger -- under 40," he says.
At the same time, the mortgage process, which has changed dramatically in the last 10 years, is proving a challenge to younger, less-affluent buyers, says Jeff Wiren, immediate past president of the Portland Metropolitan Association of Realtors. These days, loans are getting "very much scrutiny -- and that presses younger buyers," he says.
One particular frustration: New lending guidelines mean that borrowers have to trace every dollar they use for the transaction back to its source, he says.
And that includes going back to family members who may have given down payment money and requesting multiple bank statements to document that gift. "The underwriting guidelines are still pretty strict," Wiren says. Buyers "have to have proof of where that money came from."