February 27, 2024

A house built in 1810 sits on blocks as its foundation and wooden structure are rebuilt.

Fixer way-uppers.
Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images (Getty Images)

The housing market is tough today for young Americans. Prices are high. Interest rates are high. The savings needed for a deposit are getting eaten up by inflation, job loss, and childcare. Unfortunately, tomorrow’s housing market isn’t shaping up to be too great, either.

A poll commissioned by renovation firm Leaf Home suggests that baby boomers, who are still the biggest generational cohort of both homeowners and homebuyers, don’t plan to leave their homes or fix them up anytime soon.

Almost three quarters of boomers who responded to the survey said they’ve lived in their homes for more than a decade, and more than half (55%) don’t intend to move. Nearly seven out of 10 live in homes more than 30 years old, with no plans to make major renovations.

Home sweet groan

Leaf Home makes its money fixing gutters, doing accessibility-minded bathroom tweaks, and adding other safety features meant to help people age in place in their homes, so it makes sense that they’d be concerned there’s a large cohort of older Americans who might be forgoing their services. But that doesn’t make the survey’s findings any less groan-inducing for members of Gens X through Z who were hoping to move into those homes at some point.

Recent research from the National Association of Realtors suggests that younger buyers are getting muscled out of the market by older purchasers with decades of equity and the ability to pay cash. What’s left of the housing stock may end up requiring lots of spending on top of steep list prices.

“The housing market is caught in a generational tug-of-war,” said Leaf Home CEO Jon Bostock in a press release accompanying the poll. Boomers will soon face aging-in-place hurdles, while millennials will face the surprise of homes in need of major upgrades.”

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