Housing Market Faces Generational Tug-of-War

Tug-of-war | Image by rawpixel.com/Freepik

The generational divide between baby boomers and millennials is furthering U.S. homeownership trends in 2024.

According to a new report from Leaf Home and Morning Consult, about 55% of baby boomers plan to grow old in their current homes and have no plans to sell or renovate. In addition, most baby boomers have not completed nor plan to complete any future home renovations or appliance upgrades.

Leaf Home CEO Jon Bostock said in a press release that the lack of renovations and upgrades has created a “looming underinvestment crisis that promises a future of deferred maintenance for their millennial inheritors.”

The majority of millennials — the generation born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s — will inherit future maintenance expenses.

The report notes that 81% of baby boomers — the generation born between 1946 and 1964 — plan to leave an inheritance when they pass away, and more than half plan to leave up to $500,000.

Still, some millennials will be stuck with the financial burden of upgrading and replacing outdated appliances. Approximately 51% of millennials say they do not expect to receive any inheritance.

“The housing market is caught in a generational tug-of-war,” Bostock said.

“Boomers will soon face aging-in-place hurdles, while millennials will face the surprise of homes in need of major upgrades,” he said. “With an aging and ignored inventory of homes available in the next decade, we may see a crisis that will overwhelm the home improvement industry and strain the budgets of inheriting millennials, impacting the housing market.”

About 73% of baby boomers have lived in their current homes for over a decade, with more than half (55%) indicating they have no plans to sell or move. Furthermore, nearly 70% of baby boomers have lived in their current homes for 30 years or more without making any significant upgrades.

Overall, the persistent constraint on U.S. housing inventory is hurting first-time homebuyers and helping drive higher home prices, according to Peter Idziak, a senior associate at Polunsky Beitel Green.

“Even if [first-time homebuyers] can get somehow into a home they can make the monthly payment on, they can’t make enough to save for a down payment,” said Idziak, the Dallas Business Journal reported. “By the time they save that amount, prices have increased and they need even more money — so they are almost always behind.”

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