Baby Boomers Are Keeping Their Homes, Leaving First-Time Buyers Scrambling

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The older generations own more than half of the nation’s homes

August 08, 2017
Existing house in California

Photo: David Sawyer/Wikimedia Commons

While Millennials may represent the future of the housing market, Baby Boomers are dominating the present.

Bloomberg reports that people age 55 and older own 53 percent of U.S. owner-occupied homes, up from 43 percent a decade ago, and the largest share since the government began collecting data in 1900, according to a report from Trulia. People between 18 and 34 only own 11 percent of the nation’s owner-occupied homes.

Several factors make it easier for older adults to stay in their homes. Longtime owners get property-tax exemptions, and advancements in universal design and home renovation make aging in place feasible and desirable. Recent studies and surveys determined that many older adults prefer to stay near family and friends rather than uproot and move somewhere warmer and sunnier. Plus, people simply live longer today.

The lack of movement from Baby Boomers, along with the nation’s shortage of newly built homes, is forcing younger buyers to compete harder for the few homes that are available.

Bloomberg followed around Jake Yanoviak, a 23-year-old who goes door-to-door in Philadelphia, asking older homeowners if they’d be willing to sell their properties to him. Naturally, he’s been getting icy responses.

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