Demographics exert more influence on housing market

Don Fenley 

Demographic dynamics are rapidly becoming a bigger factor for the housing market. Millennials and the elder GenZers are aging into their prime home-buying years. Combined, they account for the single largest share of the region’s population. 

At the same time, the elder Baby Boomers are still a big housing market force. Many – if not most – are homeowners. And they control about 70% of the disposable income. However, an increasing number are aging out of the housing market. That will increase in the coming years. Current back-of-the-envelope calculations show about 25 of them celebrate their 70th birthday every day. 

The most recent Census count of local residents who are 75 to 84 is 37,453. That’s 12% of the region’s total population, and it’s a pre-pandemic number.  

Although Millennials and GenZers represent the biggest component of pen-up demand, what Boomers homeowners do will have a significant impact on housing. Keep an eye on multi-generational housing as more families come to grips with having to decide between that or one of the variants of group quarters.  

At the last Census count, there were about 3,000 local residents in nursing or skilled care group quarters. At the same time, the demand for things like at-home care and meals on wheels is increasing. So are housing developments that cater to elders. 

NETAR is the voice for real estate in Northeast Tennessee. It is the largest trade association in the Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia region, representing over 1,800+ members and 100+ business partners involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Weekly market reports and information for both consumers and members are available on the NETAR website at