Young Buyers want Updated Homes On Martha's Vineyard

Jen Hawkins O'Hanlon, REALTOR®


In a recent exploration of housing market dynamics, a notable shift is being observed amongst younger homebuyers, particularly millennials, who express concerns over inheriting or purchasing homes that haven't seen updates in decades. This growing apprehension stems from a trend where baby boomers, the previous generation of homeowners, opt to age in place rather than downsize or renovate their longstanding residences. We're certainly seeing this on Martha's Vineyard, making it more difficult to get top dollar for homes that need a lot of updating.

A comprehensive survey conducted by Morning Consult alongside Leaf Home, a renowned home improvement entity, sheds light on this phenomenon. It reveals that a significant portion of baby boomers, approximately 68%, have maintained their homes without major updates for over 30 years. This reluctance to modernize or downsize has ushered in a predicament for the next wave of homeowners, facing the daunting prospect of absorbing substantial renovation costs.

This scenario resonates deeply with communities across various locales, including Martha's Vineyard, known for its unique real estate landscape. Here, the issue of aging homes is not just a matter of aesthetics or functionality but also pertains to the preservation of the island's distinctive character while meeting modern living standards. Additionally, the cost of labor and materials on the Island makes it even more of a difficult scenario.

The generational divide in homeownership is not merely a backdrop to the housing market but a looming crisis, as pointed out by Jon Bostock, CEO of Leaf Home. With baby boomers encountering the challenges of aging in place, millennials are left grappling with the unexpected burden of outdated homes. This clash of generations is anticipated to significantly strain the home improvement sector and put financial pressure on younger buyers, potentially destabilizing the housing market.

Moreover, the imbalance in home ownership between empty-nesters and millennials with families is stark, further complicating the housing landscape. Studies indicate that millennials are desperately in need of larger homes to accommodate their families, yet face a scarcity due to baby boomers holding onto their properties. This scenario is echoed on Martha's Vineyard, where the demand for family-sized homes is high, but the supply remains constrained by the generational grip on existing properties. If those owners who are ready to downsize or enter assisted living want to move, they most often will need to leave the Island to find suitable housing options.

The aging of America's housing stock is a concern that has been on the radar of economists and housing experts for some time. The median age of an owner-occupied home now stands at 40 years, with a considerable portion built before the 1980s. This aging inventory, if left unaddressed, poses a significant challenge to the market, highlighting the need for intervention to ensure homes remain viable and desirable for future generations.

As young buyers across the U.S., including Martha's Vineyard, increasingly seek move-in ready homes without the hassle of renovations, it's clear that a collective effort is essential. Bridging the gap between different generations and industry stakeholders may pave the way for innovative housing solutions that meet modern needs without losing traditional appeal.


As a team, we work in harmony for the benefit of our clients. We handle multiple transactions at once and are able to execute a complex marketing strategy by leveraging team resources. We can be in several physical locations at once to ensure showings are always possible for our buyers and sellers. Our clients benefit from the combined experience of our agents and administrative staff.

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