We don’t want your stinkin’ homes. So sayeth millennials. To be more accurate, they can’t afford our stinkin’ homes and even if they could afford them, they hate the location.
Nine million homes are projected to go on the market between now and 2027. As boomers die or age out, the homes come on the market at a time when younger generations are looking for smaller homes in more urban locations. Locales with declining populations in the rust belt or in retirement communities are the last places younger would be buyers will be looking.
Then there’s the affordability problem. Millennials and Gen Xers have more debt and financial stress than almost any prior generation. About 70 percent of millennials and around 50 percent of Gen Xers surveyed indicated they would like to buy a house one day. Less than half of them are actually saving to buy. Eight percent of millennials and 23 percent of Gen Xers surveyed think they will never own a home.
So what is going to become of these nine million homes? Turn them into baby boomer museums/monuments? Maybe they will hate the location, but if mom and dad gift their home to a child or grandchild, will they say no? The renters among them who are put off by the costs of home ownership probably will take a pass on the deal. But others may recognize that life out in the burbs isn’t so bad if you don’t have a mortgage payment. That savings could offset the cost of Ubering back and forth to the city for entertainment and to see their rich friends who could afford houses there.
This projected housing glut has a familiar ring to it. Not only do younger generations not want our houses, they also do not want all of our stuff. The china settings for 12, the crystal, flatware, jewelry, artwork, the furniture and the damn tchotchkes – all of it is going begging at garage and estate sales. It’s stuff alright. The stuff of nightmares. We can’t give away “brown furniture” to younger generation minimalists.
Maybe the best advice then is to start downsizing now. Sell the big house and furnish the new smaller abode with the kind of furnishings a millennial would want. They will be glad you did.
Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. His mystery novel, Head Above Water, is available on Amazon and Kindle. You can also visit his author page here.