Boomers Moving: Expect a Gentle Tide, Not a Tsunami

Recently, you might have come across the term "Silver Tsunami." This phrase suggests that a large number of baby boomers will simultaneously move or downsize, potentially flooding the market with homes for sale. The concern is that this could significantly disrupt the housing market by increasing competition for smaller homes and upsetting the supply and demand balance, thereby affecting home prices.

However, there are some flaws in this reasoning. Let's explore these issues and help alleviate your concerns.

Not All Baby Boomers Plan To Move

For starters, plenty of baby boomers don’t plan on moving at all. A study from the AARP says more than half of adults aged 65 and older want to stay in their homes and not move as they age (see graph below):

a pie chart with text

While it's acknowledged that circumstances may change and some people who initially don't plan to move might have to later on, the majority of individuals intend to age in place.

Those who decide to stay in their current homes will likely make modifications as their needs evolve. If updates to their existing homes are no longer feasible, some may purchase a second home while keeping their original property as an investment to support generational wealth for their families. As noted in an article from Inman:

"Many boomers are not interested in fully retiring or downsizing their living spaces. Instead, many will adapt their current homes to meet their changing needs, and the wealthiest among them may choose to maintain multiple residences."

Even Those Who Do Move Won’t Do It All at Once

While not all baby boomers are looking to sell their homes and move – the ones who do won’t all do it at the same time. Instead, it’ll happen slowly over many years. As Freddie Mac says:

We forecast the ‘tsunami’ will be more like a tide, bringing a gradual exit of 9.2 million Boomers by 2035 . . .”

As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americansays:

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 so-called Silver Tsunami abruptly disrupting the housing market, you can relax. Baby boomers are expected to relocate gradually over an extended period.

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