The Shifting Boomer Bulge: Major Short Sell Risk

Policy makers dealing with housing issues aren't fully absorbing the numbers. In the second of a series on the subject, Ben Brown and Dr. Arthur C. Nelson help clarify what's going on and what we can do about it.

1 minute read

March 21, 2023, 8:00 AM PDT

By Hazel Borys

Stockton Foreclosure

Inman News / Flickr

As wealthier boomers escalate demand for small-scale housing in close-in locations where supply-demand gap is already acute, less-well-off boomers are getting stuck in homes they can’t sell for money they need to move to age-friendly situations. This is shaping up to be a major short-sell risk, particularly in suburban locations and regions where population is in decline.

More than half of the counties in the contiguous U.S. seem likely to face the risk of over-supply of senior homes. Even if all new housing units built from 2018 to 2038 were in walkable communities, increasing from about 28 million to 63 million, a little more than half the preference for homes in walkable communities would be met. 

Dr. Nelson lays out a number of actions that are required:

  • Help policymakers run the numbers and get over some wrong assumptions.
  • Rewrite zoning to allow walkable, mixed-use complete communities with smaller housing options.
  • Put better suburban retrofit supports in place for those who will be forced to age in place.

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