October 26, 2017 | Generation X
The world seems to be obsessed with two demographic groups: The Baby Boomers and the Millennials. And for obvious reasons, they’re big. Because of that, the world seems to bend more to their will. But what about that generation sandwiched between these two giant pieces of bread like a thin slice of ham? Generation X. Not a lot of attention has been given to them with regard to real estate. They just don’t seem to be able to sway the market in any way. Or at least that’s what has been commonly thought…
In their youth, Gen X has often been characterized as slackers. They were seen as underemployed individuals, many who came of age during the 90s recession born between 1966 and 1980. For a long time, they were considered flaky, precious and lazy until a younger demographic like the Millennials came along to be called such things in their place.
The Boomers have often been a “make it happen” group, and have been responsible for much of Toronto and the world’s cultural change since the hippie days of the 60s. Many Boomers are now watching as the Millennials slowly take over as the demographic culture makers. The thing is Gen X, becasue of their small numbers, don’t really seem to make an impact. Does that mean Gen X is screwed? Nope. Does in mean that Gen X is not a force shaping real estate in and around Toronto? No again.
Here is how Gen X relates to real estate now:
- GEN X CHANGED NEIGHBOURHOODS Where Boomers largely longed to move into middle class neighbourhoods like Forest Hill or Leaside or off-in-the-suburan-distance Oakville. Gen X took down-on-their-luck-neighbourhoods and made them their own. Xers chose more diverse neighbourhoods like Leslieville, The Junction, the Junction Triangle, Parkdale, and Corktown. Before they were cool, Gen Xers were buying cheap property and opening up those original indie coffee shops before the word “hipster” was associated with any neighbourhood. The were the pioneers of Toronto’s emerging neighbourhoods.
- GEN XERS ARE TOP DOGS IN COTTAGE COUNTRY You may think that Boomers would be the largest demographic of cottage owners within 3 hours of Toronto, but you would be wrong. Near Toronto Gen Xers make up 63% of all cottage country buyers. Because many Gen Xers came of age in the early 200os, that would place many of them in the 40s and 50s. They are still expanding the empire while many Boomers are downsizing and looking toward retirement. So, as Boomers are selling their cottages, Gen Xers are stepping in to buy.
- THE BOOMER VACUUM With the Boomers retiring in large numbers, Gex X is poised to move in to where the Boomers once roamed. In the office, top management positions will be opening up for Xers allowing for bigger positions and more money. In luxury real estate market, things will also change. When and if the Boomers downsize, there is going to be a lot of luxury real estate on the market creating a surge of supply that will in turn create an opportunity to buy something at a lower cost (for those Xers in the housing market). Gen X and some Millennials will see this opportunities to move up coming soon. Of course, there is no guarantee the Boomers will move as fast as Gen X and the Millennials would like them to move. They will make a change at their own pace. Thank you very much! After all, they have become accustomed to guiding their own destiny.
Whenever the time does arrive, Gen X may be next to take over the luxury market. So, don’t count out Gen X as an influential force in real estate. Sure they don’t receive nearly the amount of press and attention as the Boomers or the Millenials, but they are a quiet, yet impactful demographic. They may be small, but they do pack some punch!