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Will a Baby Boomer Sell-Off Cause the Next Housing Crisis?



There have been several recent articles in industry literature on the possibility of our next housing crisis occurring as baby boomers sell off their homes en masse. Other literature sees this as a good thing, saying that this will open up the starter home inventory for millennial buyers.

A recent report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies states that millennials are not limited by a lack of desire, but a lack of affordability. Many will be approaching their mid-40s in the next decade and it is hoped they will catch up with historical home ownership trends. The big question is, given the state of affairs with rising prices and student loan debt, whether they will be able to catch up and afford homeownership, and whether the predicted sellout by boomers will materialize. Some studies suggest that boomers will end up staying in their homes longer and likely remodeling for their changing needs instead of moving, while others predict en masse selloff of boomer homes.

Arthur C. Nelson, a professor at the University of Arizona, theorizes that there will be a glut of senior housing sales, but there will not be buyers for them. He cites the affordability issue, but also notes the changes in buying preferences for millennials. He states that many younger buyers prefer urban housing such as condos or townhouses rather than suburban McMansions. Nelson originally predicted the massive sellout would occur about 2020 and has since revised his forecast to the mid or late 2020's.

Other analysts disagree that there will be a glut of housing, as many people who grew up in suburbs are likely to want to do the same, and affordability may make suburban living their only option. While there is disagreement and speculation, most analysts do agree that more housing needs to built for the millennial buyer. The Harvard study projects that in the year 2035, 90 percent of buyers will be under 35 or 70 and over, and both of these populations tend to lean toward less square footage. Nelson states that developers and government need to anticipate these changes and build houses that will meet the needs of the future.


1911 NE Carson Way, Bend, OR 97701

3 beds, 1.5 baths, 1,248 square feet, .17 acre lot

Built in 1979


Listed by John L Scott Central Oregon Bend


2823 NE Ocker Drive, Bend, OR 97701

4 beds, 3 baths, 1,844 square feet, .17 acre lot

Built in 1993


Listed by Keller Williams Realty Central Oregon


1141 N.W. Summit Dr., Bend, OR 97703

4 beds, 3.5 baths, 3,473 square feet, .51 acre lot

Built in 1990


Listed by Harcourts The Garner Group Real Estate

Photos and listing info from Central Oregon Multiple Listing Service

About The Author

Nick Nayne, Principal Broker

Principal Broker at The Broker Network Realty in Bend, OR. Over 12 years experience in Real Estate working with buyers, sellers and investment properties.

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