Madison, Georgia, USA Antebellum Homes District

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the real estate market in unexpected ways.

People fled the big cities for less congested, smaller towns, and it wasn’t just older property owners at or near retirement age with significant equity in their homes.

Realtor Amanda Duffey, with DeLoach Sotheby’s International Realty, said she has noticed a change in the demographics for home buyers in the Golden Isles.

“In the Golden Isles, the average age of a typical home buyer has decreased gradually since I moved to St. Simons 17 years ago; however, since the start of the pandemic, the average age has gone down substantially,” she said.

According to national reports, millennials are dominating the residential real estate market nationwide. And they prefer middle- and upper-middle-class homes, accounting for 38% of the market.

The average age of a home buyer in the Golden Isles is about 50 years old, she said, but it varies, depending on the location.

“The typical buyer for a Sea Island property is probably a retiree; whereas, the home buyers in Brunswick are generally younger professionals,” she said. “These trends are somewhat more predictable due to affordability, but there are definitely some outliers. The FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center) presence contributes to these age trends as well.”

Local Realtors are aware of the trend and are finding ways to reach out to a new market because millennials research online first before making purchasing decisions. For buyers, the current market means improved communication with sellers, being straightforward about what they want in a home and make their purchase with the help of a real estate professional.

“Many local Realtors are knowledgeable with marketing trends for targeted audiences,” Duffey said. “Social media has been the most effective tool to reach the younger buyers. Facebook and Instagram are the most popular platforms, and some realtors are even utilizing TikTok, which is popular throughout the younger generation.”

It’s likely millennials will continue to play a major role in the real estate market.

“I believe this is a trend that will continue due to the rapid increase in remote work,” she said. “Another reason I expect to see this trend continue is due to the fact that the Golden Isles offers a desirable work-life balance and a lower cost of living in comparison to major cities, which are important factors for the youngest members of the workforce.”