Residential Magazine

Bridge the Generational Divide

Tailor your approach to the unique needs of each demographic group

By Max Slyusarchuk

Four generations comprise almost all the homebuying public today — from Generation Z to baby boomers. The key to success in the current market lies in understanding the vast differences across generations. The organizations poised to lead are those that can effectively communicate with each generation on its own terms.

The housing needs of each generation are likely be different from the other generations. Baby boomers, anyone born between 1946-1964, according to the Pew Research Center, may be looking to downsize or move into active living communities. Generation Z, born between 1997-2012, who are just entering the market are often looking for affordability, walkability and flexibility.

 Understanding the collective experiences of clients from various age demographics can set you apart in the competitive mortgage market. Mortgage originators need actionable insights to work with these generations, emphasizing a practical approach rooted in real-world experiences rather than theoretical concepts.

Baby boomers

As the baby boomer generation enters or approaches retirement, they face a multitude of issues about their housing options. As their children leave home and retirement approaches, many baby boomers consider downsizing their living spaces. This may involve moving to smaller homes, condos or townhouses that reduce maintenance responsibilities and better suit their current needs.

Brokers can help baby boomers by assessing their space requirements, budgets and ideal locations. They can clarify financing options and assist with the sale of their existing home and the purchase of a new one, ensuring a seamless transition for their clients.

Some baby boomers are drawn to active adult communities designed specifically for retirees. These communities offer a range of amenities and activities tailored to the interests and needs of this generation. These include fitness centers, golf courses, social clubs and easy access to healthcare services. Similarly, other boomers desire to live in communities that foster social connections and a sense of belonging, while still others wish to become more deeply involved in volunteering for local nonprofit organizations.

Baby boomers enter retirement with varying levels of preparedness. Some may have well-funded retirement accounts and pensions, while others might be concerned about funding their retirement and maintaining their present lifestyle. These concerns will influence their housing decisions. Brokers can help their clients by assessing their retirement goals, income sources, assets and debts to provide solutions that align with their financial situation. In this way, housing expenses can be balanced with their available retirement savings and income.

Also important to many members of this generation is the concept of aging in place. They may want to remain in their current homes and neighborhoods as they age. This desire is driven by an emotional attachment to their homes and a wish to preserve the comfort that comes from being in a familiar environment. Modifications to their home are often necessary to make it more age friendly.

Generation X

At their present stage of life, Gen Xers (born between 1965-1980, according to Pew) are typically in the prime of their careers, juggling the costs of raising a family and saving for retirement. Their housing needs are influenced by such factors as family dynamics, career concerns and lifestyle preferences. Mortgage brokers can assist them by understanding their priorities and guiding them to suitable housing and financing solutions.

“Housing needs (for Generation X) are influenced by such factors as family dynamics, career concerns and lifestyle preferences.”

Gen Xers often place considerable value on family and parenting. Many of them are part of the so-called “sandwich” generation, meaning they are simultaneously caring for their aging parents and their children. Consequently, they have an interest in homes that can accommodate multigenerational living which includes features like guest suites, separate entrances or in-law quarters.

While some Gen Xers prefer the amenities and conveniences of urban living, others are drawn to the space and tranquility of suburban or rural communities. They appreciate the larger homes, quality schools, lower population density and family-friendly activities.

Many Gen X individuals work remotely, and this trend has redefined how they view the functionality of their homes. They are seeking homes with flexible layouts or extra rooms that can be converted into home office spaces. Working from home also satisfies another Gen X priority — maintaining a healthy work-life balance. 

Gen Xers are increasingly concerned about environmental sustainability. As a result, they favor homes that are energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. This includes features such as solar panels, energy-efficient appliances and windows, the use of sustainable building materials and green certifications.


The real estate landscape is experiencing a significant shift as millennials, born between 1981-1996, step into the realm of homeownership. In their lifetimes, this generation has experienced catastrophic financial upheaval (2008 financial crisis) and monumental societal shifts (they are the first digital natives), resulting in deep-seated caution and hesitancy. These extraordinary events, among other factors, have shaped their approach to homeownership and the choices they make.

While many millennials aspire to own homes, they face challenges such as rising home prices, higher interest rates, tight lending standards and excessive levels of student debt, which make it difficult to enter the housing market. Some opt for alternative housing models, such as renting, co-living, shared housing arrangements or living with their parents.

Millennials are digital natives and they value homes with modern technology features. High-speed internet connectivity, smart home systems, smart appliances and smart security systems are often considered essential.

Many millennials show a preference for urban living, valuing proximity to work, entertainment and amenities. They seek out neighborhoods that are walkable and have easy access to public transportation. This generation also prizes shared experiences and social connectivity and so they seek to locate near communal spaces and parks, where opportunities for group social interaction can occur.

Many millennials prefer low-maintenance homes and communities that allow them to focus more on their interests and experiences, rather than spending excessive amounts of time on upkeep. Consequently, condominiums and townhouses with shared maintenance responsibilities are attractive to some.

Generation Z

The newest entrants to the housing market, Generation Z, are a relatively young demographic and their housing needs are still evolving. Based on current trends and expectations, however, several distinct characteristics are emerging about this generation.

“The newest entrants to the housing market, Generation Z, are a relatively young demographic, and their housing needs are still evolving.”

Gen Z is known for valuing flexibility and mobility in their lifestyles. Thanks to global remote work possibilities, many travel the world seeking both adventure and career opportunities. As a result, housing solutions that provide flexibility in terms of lease terms, location and adaptability to changing needs are preferred. Having come of age during the start-up culture and the gig economy, many in Gen Z possess an entrepreneurial spirit. This inclination towards self-employment influences their career choices and affects their homebuying capacity.

Members of Gen Z value higher education and they tend to be financially prudent. Having grown up during economic uncertainties, they prioritize stability and savings, and they have a cautious approach to financial commitments.

Like the generation that precedes them, some members of Gen Z are exhibiting a preference for urban living, appreciating its proximity to work and city life amenities. Walkable neighborhoods with easy access to public transportation are sought-after places to live. It is important to note that Gen Z is a young, diverse group with varying needs and inclinations, and the housing market for them is likely to evolve.

● ● ●

As lenders and brokers, our roles are more than just facilitating transactions; we serve as trusted advisers, deeply attuned to the unique challenges and aspirations of each generation. When tailoring your services to align with the distinct values and motivations of your clients, aim not just to meet their expectations but to surpass them, guiding them toward their financial goals. Ultimately, brokers who commit to ongoing education and embrace technological innovation will position themselves to provide mortgage solutions that resonate with clients of all ages. Additionally, a blend of communication skills, expertise and empathy will further contribute to brokers becoming indispensable advisers to clients throughout their lifetimes.


  • Max Slyusarchuk

    Max Slyusarchuk is co-founder of Imperial Fund and a founder and CEO of A&D Mortgage. He is also a shareholder and vice chairman of the board of Home Federal Bank of Hollywood. Slyusarchuk is responsible for the day-to-day activities, strategic planning, business development and building relationships with key partners. He has experience in both private equity investments and portfolio management for institutional and private sector clients in Eastern Europe and the U.S. Reach Slyusarchuk at (305) 760-7000.

You might also like...