Demographics Are Changing The Lending Landscape – Our Tips Can Help


  • While Boomers were the primary target for lenders, the scale is shifting to Millennials who are now the largest population and home buying demographic.
  • Lenders must understand the drastic difference between Boomers and Millennials in order to cater to them.
  • Millennials depend on social proof to find a lender, putting more importance on experience and ease of the digital mortgage process.
  • RealKey’s automation, easy communication and document digitization are just some of the tools that Millennials require for their mortgage journey.

Power dynamic shifts are currently taking place in the real estate and mortgage lending industry. While the Boomer generation traditionally held the majority of real estate in the US, the pendulum is beginning to swing to Millennials, who since 2014 have been the largest home-owning demographic. As Millennials are becoming the new power homebuyers, MLOs must understand the drastic difference between the Boomers and Millennials preferred approach to the mortgage process. Adapting to these changes is pivotal for lenders that want to cater to Millennials, especially during the current downturn caused by increasing interest rates

                                      Who Are Baby Boomers                                                                                     Who Are Millennials

The Baby Boomer generation refers to people born 1946-1964, putting them at 57-75 years old. The post WWII period caused a spike in birth rates with 3-4 million babies being born each year during that period. The explosion of new babies became known as a “baby boom”, as there were 76 million babies born in the US during those 18 years. The Boomer generation remained the largest population until 2019. Millennials were born 1981-1996,  putting them at 26-41 years old. The majority are children of Baby Boomers, and since 2019 they are the largest living generation with approximately 80 million people today. It’s the first generation to grow in the internet age and have a heavy dependence on digital technology and apps. 




Boomers can be described as ”old school.” It’s a generation that values relationships along with personal and face-to-face connections. They have a strong sense of community and thrive in team environments. They were raised on the idea of the “American Dream” along with a loyal and strong work ethic. Boomers idealize stable careers, preferring to stay with one organization, and a “the good life” in the suburbs with a house and a family. While Millennials are considered individualistic and self entitled, they are extremely adaptable, as well as value transparency and education. They are technology obsessed, relying on smartphones and apps for everything. Millennials are “job hoppers,” meaning they are more likely to switch companies compared to earlier generations, and were a big part of the “Great Resignation” trend during the pandemic. Almost half of the population are anti American Dream believers due to financial instability, causing many to postpone marriages, having children, and buying homes.


Relationship with Technology 


Boomers are not digital natives. While they adopted digital tools, technology, and apps, it’s more for survival in today’s society. Although more Boomers started implementing these tools during the pandemic, they are not as comfortable as younger generations using it. 55% still prefer to do business and interact in person, making them less likely to see the internet as a positive for society. Millennials depend on technology for everything. From grocery shopping, to hailing an Uber/Lyft, donating to charity, to dating and breaking up. They value experiences, and have a strong need to publicize them on social media. They have been called the Head Down Generation for spending so much time staring down at their smartphone.




Since 2001, Boomers have owned more real estate than any generation and are 10 times wealthier than their children, holding 53.2% of wealth in America compared to 4.6% for Millennials.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Millennials are considered the unluckiest generation having experienced the Dot-Com Bubble implosion, the 2008 Great Recession, and the Coronavirus pandemic. While the Millennials are the largest workforce, they are the least wealthy. Their wealth, however, more than doubled during the COVID-19 crisis. They are also beginning to inherit their deceasing Boomer parents’ wealth


How They Navigate Mortgages


Boomers depend on word of mouth and referrals to find a lender. They value personal relationships, preferring in-person connection, phone communication, and manually submitting paperwork. They are hesitant to wire funds online, sign documents electronically, and often do not know how to digitally submit paperwork. This  slows down the loan process, making it more tedious and error-prone.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Digital mortgages are the norm for Millennials. They start by researching and comparison shopping online before contacting a lender. Millennials want a digital first mortgage process with a seamless experience, as well as transparency about the process, pricing, and fees. They prefer and expect online communication and educational tools from MLO as well. The role of a lender is more of a concierge who steps-in to iron out hick-ups and answer questions. When looking for a lender, Millennials depend on social proof, prioritizing online reviews and social media presence. They value the personalized process and experience vs. establishing a connection and relationship with a lender. 


RealKey Can Cater To The Needs Of Millennial Mortgage Seekers

Although previously Millennials weren’t a focus for lenders, since 2014 they have been the largest and fastest growing home buying demographic. In fact, they made up 43% of home purchases in 2021, with that number expected to continue growing. As their wealth increases, Millennials are opting to purchase larger homes in the suburbs to start families, accommodate working from home, and move in their aging parents. 

In order to cater to this new power demographic, MLOs must move away from outdated and manual loan processes to offer the following tools that better serve the growing Millennial demographic:

Automation – Loan automation helps MLOs and closing teams move away from tedious, error-prone, and repetitive tasks to streamline the entire loan process. Approximately 60-70% of tasks in the lifecycle of a mortgage can be automated, shortening the loan processing cycle up to 50% by eliminating repetitive tasks and errors. RealKey’s software works seamlessly with existing point-of-sale and loan origination systems to bring an end-to-end, fully digital mortgage processing experience to lenders and their clients.  

Transparency & Education – RealKey’s technology allows lenders to be transparent and educate borrowers on the mortgage process. Automation gives a 360 degree view of the process from start to finish. It not only maps out the entire process, but helps understand the “why” behind every step in a transaction. RealKey syncs all the parties involved in the loan process providing a clear timeline, responsibilities, and deliverables. This transparency allows Millennial borrowers to understand exactly where they are in the process and what is required of them.

Communication – Loan originators can spend up to 75% of their day calling and emailing customers about missing information and paperwork. RealKey’s built-in chat feature streamlines communication for all parties, eliminating overwhelming emails and voicemails. It creates a centralized and singular communication tool among all parties involved based on their role. 

Document Digitization – RealKey eliminates painful submission processes by facilitating digital document collection. Data can be acquired directly via APIs or OCR as well as digital document submission and signing tools. The intelligent documentation gathering ensures that clients do not need to resubmit the same documents as well as ensuring underwriters get everything needed for a clean and fast approval. 

The mortgage lending industry is changing, and while Millennials are credited for changing the landscape, borrowers of all ages understand benefits and values of the digital mortgage process. Lenders must do what’s best for the customers and implement automation technology to provide better service, products, and improve on the overall experience.

RealKey is an innovative mortgage automation solution that can help lenders run and grow their business efficiently, while providing customers with the best experience. Contact us today for a demo and learn how RealKey can help you scale your business.