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Who is going to buy the homes vacated by Baby Boomers?

The Wall Street Journal estimates that, from now until about 2037, roughly 21 million homes in the United States will be vacated by seniors. To put this number into perspective, it’s about 25% of the US for-sale housing stock and more than double the amount of new homes that were sold during the 1998 to 2008 housing boom. That number was about 10 million (see below).

This is part of the normal cycle of housing, but in this particular instance, there’s concern that the new generation won’t be there to backfill these homes, or least not in the same way. For one, there are more boomers than there are Gen Xers. So right away there’s a potential gap. But on top of this, the next in line don’t appear to necessarily have the same preferences in housing type and location.

As someone who would fall into the 65.9 million birth bucket highlighted in deep mustard (had I been born in the US), I can tell you that I am far less interested in many of the housing products (real estate speak) / typologies (architect speak) popularized by the generation ahead of me. Whether my opinion is representative is, of course, debatable.

Anecdotally, I can also say that I know many boomers who have started making real estate decisions based on the assumption that demand for certain types of housing will be tepid going forward. This is not to say that some of these communities won’t be able to reposition themselves if it comes to that. But there is uncertainty.

Images: WSJ


  1. Tbone

    I think this additional housing stock will be a godsend. In a time where we can’t keep up with supply this will provide what is so desperately needed. That and take into account how many baby boomers own multiple homes it means we’re talking about a massive amount of supply, prices will normalize.


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