Homebuyer Generational Series:
The Loan Officer’s Incredible Opportunity with (the Neglected) Generation X
Jim Honeck, Senior Marketing Program Manager
In my family, I am that stereotypical “forgotten middle child.” Always stuck in the middle, the calm one between my opinionated older brother and my talkative younger sister. Not only that, I am also a member of Generation X, that unnoticed middle group between the Baby Boomers and the Millennials. Heck, even our name is a hand-me-down.
It was a term originally used in a photo essay about the young adults of the 1950s. The name didn’t stick then, but it obviously did when it was reused 30 years later by a different author.
Because the generations before and after Generation X are so massive comparatively speaking, no one studies us and we often are overlooked by marketers. Don’t make that same mistake – because we are a big part of the mortgage market, too, predominately as move-up buyers.
Here are 3 things to know about the members of Generation X before you look past us to all those Millennials following behind:
1. Money, money money
Although we make up just 25% of the population, we account for 31% of its income. GenX homebuyers lead all other generations for largest median home purchased and largest square footage.
That said, it is estimated that no other generation was hit as hard during the Great Recession as GenX. One study estimated this generation lost 45% of its wealth and 30% have dipped into retirement funds. So even though we may be your move- up buyers, our down payment amounts may be lower than expected.
2. What “Schoolhouse Rock” forgot to teach us
While GenXers can tell you how a bill is made, how to unpack your adjectives and even the function at the Conjunction Junction, what we didn’t learn from all those Saturday Morning Schoolhouse Rock cartoons is how much lenders require to for a down payment.
When asked “How much do you need for a down payment?” by NAR’s HOME Survey from September 2016, 82% of GenXers believe you need 10% or more, while 37% believe that 20% or more is required. Yikes! Guess we should stop making fun of what Millennials don’t know.
3. Elbow room, elbow room… got to, got to get us some elbow room
The most common reason given for buying a home among GenXers is simply the need for more space. Not surprising, as NAR’s Generational Trends Report tells us 67% of GenXers live with children under 18. Again, move-up buyers.
What may be surprising is that 21% of GenX home buyers wanted to buy sooner. Part of the delay could go back to the net worth, wealth and equity lost in the Great Recession. Still another part maybe we merely don’t have any idea how much equity we currently have in our homes.
Core Logic estimates that nearly 79% of homeowners have significant equity, which they define as 20% or more. Yet when Fannie Mae once asked homeowners if they had 20% equity in their home, only 39% felt they did.
How can a loan officer help us?
You could help by reaching out to us and helping show what our home is worth. Which could lead to us moving up or refinancing. After all, our kids are getting older and college tuition, wedding and other substantial bills are coming up fast!
Homebuyer Generational Series
Senior Marketing Program Manager
Jim Honeck first joined MGIC in 1989 and returned in 2017 and currently serves as MGIC’s Senior Marketing Program Manager. Among Jim’s responsibilities are heading up MGIC’s Inside Sales Team, Vendor Due Diligence, Marketing of MGIC programs and the RFP process. Jim has been in the mortgage insurance industry for 27 years and has held a variety of positions in sales and marketing.