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Baby Boomers’ Impact on the Housing Market

Author: Alex Delaney

The baby boomer generation started at the close of World War II and ended in 1964. The economy thrived through most of their years, allowing them a measure of wealth unheard of in their parents’ generation, which had suffered through the Great Depression. That wealth allowed 45% of them to purchase homes between the ages of 25 and 34, furthering their ability to realize the American Dream.  

Their grandchildren’s generation,  known as the Millennials, is not so fortunate. Born between 1981 and 1997, this larger generation has had numerous setbacks in the housing market and the economy, including high student debt, the rising cost of living, and the 2008 recession. Only 37% have purchased homes before their 35th birthday.

Now that the Millennials are all grown up, they are facing another obstacle. Baby boomers are living longer and aging in place, causing the already tight housing market to strangle. Boomers are retiring later, and, with better health and the help of assistive devices and social services, are electing to keep their homes instead of moving into smaller units that require less upkeep. Even if they wish to move into smaller homes, that option is also limited by the lower inventory of houses. In addition, many have taken out equity loans to equip their homes for aging needs, putting them in a position where they can’t afford to sell.

Other factors are also in play, creating an opportunity for the savvy investor. Millennials face a mobile job market, rarely staying in the same job for more than a few years. Renting may be a convenience for some, for others, it is a necessity. 

Millennials like convenience, mobility and modernity. They are concerned about the carbon footprint and climate change. They are not as interested in the McMansions on postage-stamp-sized suburban lots as they are in areas where they can walk to parks, shopping and work. They prefer smart devices, fast internet speeds and accessibility. They want to live near work with easy access to shopping, dog parks and restaurants. Millennials are savvy. They look for newer windows, better insulation, LED lighting and other high-efficiency products. Modern thermostats and fast internet are a must.

Take Advantage

So how do you snatch up this consumer block?  To best serve this market, you’ll need to provide modern amenities in metro areas and work hubs that are located close to shopping, parks and nightlife. As Atlanta continues to spread, these work hubs are opening up in many Atlanta cities. Downtown Atlanta, Alpharetta, Roswell, Kennesaw and Marietta are all seeing an increase in mixed-use communities and work hubs. If you can snatch up properties now, before you are priced out of the market, your investment portfolio will thank you.

See our Atlanta Community Information for Investors, for detailed information about metro communities.