I have seen the same headline from four different sources. All scream out that the cause of the housing affordability crisis are boomers who are staying in their homes. I have been anticipating this. I am surprised it took this long to point the finger at the aging population’s recalcitrant need to stay in their own homes and communities.
Some relevant statistics, half of the the number of homes needed to satisfy younger homeowners are occupied by seniors. That is 1.6 million homes and they are not leaving. People are moving less in general. The average stay in a home is now up to 13 years. The same ‘traditional ‘ proportion of seniors are not relocating to warmer climates, signing into senior living communities and may I add are living longer. This is creating a bottleneck of millennial buyers ready to rehab that affordable older home with little to bid on.
It is disheartening to know that the approach is one of blame. If there is to be fault assigned here, what about the the fact that so few affordable downsizing options are open to seniors in their own communities. Why should seniors have to move out of state or out the county where they worked and made connections to find affordable housing?
If the only housing that is being built are inaccessible townhouses with multiple levels of narrow stairs or large 5 bedroom 4 bath mini mansions that anyone one would find cumbersome after the children leave, that logically means everyone will be leaving eventually. That is not an attractive or sustainable solution. It is amazing to me that few people look far enough ahead to understand the logic of this scenario.
Once upon a time you moved into a neighborhood and stayed maybe until you were the oldest folks on the block then figured it out as age and disability warranted it. Back then Long Term Care policies were affordable and covered more or you moved in with relatives.
Seniors are in a box that they did not create. Around them land values have changed to make staying in their own homes the only way to remain in their own communities. They have had fewer offspring. Senior housing as much as it is straining to cater to the tastes of younger seniors, has escalated in price pass assets and insurance polices.
Maybe, just maybe this impasse will bring better solutions. Think of it as a mass sit down strike against the status quo.