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Will a Mass Exodus of the Baby Boomers Change the 2024 Housing Market?

There’s been a lot of talk about the “Silver Tsunami” online. Let’s dive into what it is and why it won’t drastically impact the housing market like the media is hyping up.

What Does Silver Tsunami Mean?

The thought is that as baby boomers grow older, a significant number will start downsizing their homes. Considering how large that generation is, if these moves happened in a big wave, it would affect the housing market by causing a significant uptick in the number of larger homes for sale. That influx of homes coming onto the market would impact the balance of supply and demand, eventually leading to a surplus of inventory and a drop in the market.

The concept makes sense in theory, but will it happen? And if so, when?

Experts say, so far, a silver tsunami hasn’t happened – and it probably won’t anytime soon. Here’s just one reason why. Many baby boomers don’t want to move. Data from the AARP shows over half of the surveyed adults ages 65 and up plan to stay put and age in place in their current home rather than move (see chart below):

Clearly, not every baby boomer is planning to sell or move – and even those who do won’t do it all at once. Instead, it will be more gradual, happening slowly over time. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, says:

“Demographics are never a tsunami. The baby boomer generation is almost two decades of births. That means they’re going to take about two decades to work their way through.”

Bottom Line

If you’re worried about a Silver Tsunami shaking up the housing market, don’t be. Any impact from baby boomers moving will be gradual over many years. Fleming sums it up best: “Demographic trends, they don’t tsunami. They trickle.”

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