Keeping up with rapidly evolving demographics 

Jan Stapleton - 2023 NETAR President

Realtors® have always paid attention to demographics. Most of it focused on two distinct groups, and that focus is becoming more intense. The first was younger buyers who were typically first-time buyers. The next was elders relocating, scaling down, or refinancing investment properties.    

2023 NETAR President
Association Spokesperson

Fast-forward to today’s housing market. Demographics have a higher priority in the Realtor® information to know and use pyramid. You don’t have to look further than a recent Wall Street Journal article for a reason.  

The WSJ brief pointed out that 1 in 6 Americans are now 65 and older. It wasn’t a surprise for those who keep tabs on the local demographic trend. The Tri-Cities had 111,945 65 or older residents during the latest census count. That’s 22.8 percent of the local population and back-of-the-envelope calculations show 30 locals a day celebrate their 65th birthday. That will continue for a while as the region works its way through the local peak of the Baby Boom generation. Since the Tri-Cities is ahead of the rest of the nation on this trend, it is a window to what the overall market and its performance will look like in the near future. 

And what about the folks who are moving here? 

For the most part, many are a slightly younger subset of the local population. The only region where that seems not to be the case is Washington Co. It’s the only locality where the age of newcomers is known and a little better than half skew below the 60 years-old line.  

Elders were once a fairly stable component of the housing market. They’re now a classic disruptor because about half of the local homes have no mortgage and many – if not most – are owned by elders who are looking to scale back to a smaller home, join the growing ranks of multi-generational households or age out of the housing market. They’re also part of the local investors who own the region’s 65,000 single-family and townhome rentals so they are keenly aware of the evolving rental market. 

While there are several Realtor® designations and certifications that are rising to the challenges of the region’s rapidly evolving demographics, here’s the two time-tested designations and certification at the top of the in-demand list: 

The Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) designation is for Realtors® who want to be able to meet the special needs of maturing Americans when selling, buying, relocating, or refinancing residential or investment properties. By earning the SRES® designation, they are prepared to approach mature clients with the best options and information for them to make life-changing decisions. 

The First Time Buyer Certification (FTBS) courses teach agents how to build trust with today’s First Time Buyers and make them customers for life. Earning the FTBS Certification sets agents apart and indicates to clients that they can offer higher quality service to today’s home purchasers, as well as those trying to come back into the market. Recipients can confidently deliver information on available mortgage programs to help them overcome the financing obstacles they experience and turn their challenges into rewarding opportunities for your business. 

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