Shifting Landscape: Homeownership Trends Across Generations in Rutherford County, Tennessee

Jan 19, 2024 at 11:48 am by WGNS News

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, TN - First-time home buyers, especially Millennials and Gen Xers, are facing an uphill battle when it comes to house hunting. This is in part because of a growing trend in which Baby Boomers, the generation that owns the largest share of American homes, are planning to stay put—leading to less inventory for new buyers.

In the realm of residential construction and homeownership, Rutherford County presents a unique scenario that diverges from national trends. As the nation grapples with the dominance of Baby Boomers in homeownership, the story in Murfreesboro, Smyrna, LaVergne, and other Rutherford County communities unfolds differently.


Nationally, Baby Boomers comprise 20.7% of the population and own a staggering 37.8% of all U.S. homes. This trend poses challenges for younger generations, especially Millennials and Gen Xers, as a significant portion of Baby Boomers opts to stay in their current home. These details are further emphasized in a 2021 AARP survey that revealed 77% of Americans over 50 prefer aging in place, contributing to a scarcity of housing inventory for new buyers.


However, Rutherford County stands out with a housing market more dominated by younger demographics. Murfreesboro, part of the Nashville and Franklin Metro Statistical Area, boasts one of the lowest percentages of Baby Boomer homeowners. This demographic shift means that cities like Murfreesboro have a higher proportion of residents under the age of 59 compared to national averages.

According to the U.S. Census, 29% of Rutherford County residents fall within the 30 to 49 age group, exceeding the state's average by 10 percentage points. Specifically, 15% of Rutherford Countians belong to the 30 to 39-year-old age bracket, and 14% are in the 40 to 49-year-old bracket, with both age groups overwhelmingly representing the Millennial generation. Property Assessor Rob Mitchell noted that Millennials in Rutherford County are entering homeownership later but tend to stay in their first homes longer than previous generations...

In the face of rising home prices, Millennials are taking out larger loans. In 2022, median loan amounts for ages 25–34 and 35–44 were $315,000 and $365,000, respectively, higher than any other age group. The loan-to-value ratio also reflected this trend, indicating the challenges first-time Millennial homebuyers face.

Contrary to the national scene, a recent survey by "Construction Coverage – Expert Review's & Guides" reveals that Baby Boomers own 38.0% of homes in Tennessee within their 21.1% population share. However, the story takes a different turn in Rutherford County, where only 34.6% of Baby Boomers own their own homes. With approximately 55,950 residents aged 59 to 78 in Rutherford County, this equates to 19,358 homeowners in this age group locally.

As Rutherford County experiences a distinctive shift in homeownership dynamics, the interplay between generations shapes the local narrative, providing a glimpse into a housing market that defies national norms.

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