Don’t Count Gen X Out

Millennials and baby boomers may grab most of the attention as the big movers in real estate these days, but the generation in between has been the only generation of households to regain the wealth it lost during the Great Recession. Generation X homeowners (those born between 1965 and 1980) saw the largest declines in home equity a decade ago during the recession—so they also had the most ground to make up. But now they’ve recovered more since 2007 than any other generation, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center.

Generation X homeowners saw their home equity plunge 43 percent from $66,000 in 2007 to $37,600 in 2010. But since 2010, Gen X households’ median net worth has surged 115 percent. Since 2016, the net worth of the average Gen X household surpassed what it was in 2007, $84,200 versus $63,400.

“As of 2016, the median wealth of households headed by boomers and the silent generation remains below 2007 levels, though their household wealth still exceeds that of Generation X,” writes Richard Fry, a senior researcher at Pew. “Wealth or net worth—the difference between the value of a household’s assets and debts—is an important dimension of household well-being because it is a measure of a family’s nest egg, resources that can sustain members through job layoffs or emergencies as well as provide income during retirement. For many American households, the bulk of their wealth is in their home, and this was especially the case for households headed by Gen Xers in 2007.”

For the most part, Gen Xers, now largely in their late 30s and 40s, are nearing their peak income and spending power. Since they are older than millennials, they tend to be higher on the pay scale in their jobs. Therefore, they may have more to spend on their homes than millennials or downsizing, retiring baby boomers.

Copyright National Association of Realtors. Reprinted with permission.