The senior sell-off – next housing crisis or hysterical hype?

A post at The Atlantic Cities suggests a looming mismatch between the number of aging baby boomers looking to sell homes and the number of buyers for those homes.

Roughly 7 percent of over-65 households move each year, and as people get older, their likelihood of moving from owning to renting gets higher and higher (it’s about 79 percent for households over 85). By 2020, there were will be around 35 million over-65 households in the U.S. That year, Nelson calculates, seniors who would like to become renters will be trying to sell about 200,000 more owner-occupied homes than there will be new households entering the market to buy them. By 2030, that figure could rise to half a million housing units a year.

Devote some time to a careful read of the household and new home demand projections from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies and you’ll understand the difficulty of projecting housing formations in the very near future, much less 15 and 25 years from now. And what can we possibly know about what different age groups will value and how they will behave in the years 2020 and 2030?

The article’s thesis may come to pass – but there’s simply no way to know whether it will.

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