By Steve Moran
It took my breath away to read this article on the FreddieMac website: “While Seniors Age in Place Millennials Wait Longer and May Pay More for their First Homes”. I hardly know what to say about it. The fundamental premise of this article is that because seniors are healthier and living longer they are hurting Millennials. The underlying message is, if only those pesky seniors would die or at least move into old folks homes, Millennials would have a much easier time of purchasing their first home.
A big thanks to my friend Louis Tenenbaum for bringing this to my attention.
Argh . . . .
At the very top of the article is this:
“. . . thirty-somethings Alex and Rita can't wait to buy their first home. But they may have to wait longer – and pay more – than they'd like,
as long-time homeowners stay in their homes and keep them off the market.”
“Between the ages of 67 and 82, while the homeownership rate had dropped by 11.6 percent for previous generations, it fell by only 3.6 percent for the Good Times cohort . . . This divergent trend raises an important question: How many housing units have been held off the market as potential housing supply for younger generations by more recent cohorts of senior citizens?”
“The most important fundamental in today's housing market is the lack of houses for sale. This shortage has been identified as an important barrier to young adults buying their first homes. This Insight sheds light on one factor that contributes to this shortage: seniors choosing to age in place.”
There seems to be no sense at all in this report that we should be celebrating that people are living longer and healthier and staying in their homes longer. It is fascinating that by just being alive, seniors are now being blamed as a major contributor to the housing shortage. This has to be one of the most ageist things I have ever read.
No doubt about it, my generation, the Boomers, living longer and healthier lives are putting a new strain on the economy. But it also completely ignores the fact that the Millennials would not be here without their Boomer parents. It ignores that these seniors worked hard and saved and sacrificed to be able to own their own homes.
To put it in ugly perspective, one might say it would a whole lot better if more babies were aborted because if that happened we would need fewer schools and the government would save money. It's somehow like Freddie Mac forgot why they exist and who their customers are.
Putting the Blame in the Right Place
The real reason we are in this position is that we have a pile of regulations that make it more expensive and time-consuming to build homes. The goal of having those regulations is admirable for sure, but at some point, you have to acknowledge the price people and society pays for this, and right now one of those prices is that it is tougher for first-time buyers than it has been in other times. But let’s get outraged that healthy seniors are being blamed.
Write someone about this . . .