Baby boomers and other homeowners over the age of 55, which number about 67 million, control about two-thirds of the nation’s aggregate home equity, which computes to about $8 trillion.
These numbers put this group in a position to greatly influence where the housing market will go in the next decade, according to Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sean Becketti in a blog post on Wednesday.
“Whether they decide to move from their current homes or age in place, the cumulative impact of their decisions on mortgage demand, affordable housing supplies, and the housing options available to Millennials and other aspiring homeowners will be substantial,” Becketti wrote.
Freddie Mac’s survey of nearly 4,900 homeowners age 55 and over (a mix of men, women, Caucasian, African-American, and Hispanic, and Asian), revealed that the majority of baby boomers are satisfied with their current homes (about 64 percent) and that 90 percent believe people their age should own a home. Nearly everyone surveyed said homeownership makes sense for married people with children (96 percent), and a majority said it makes sense for people without children (85 percent).
About 63 percent of respondents said they prefer to age in place, which would compute to about 42 million homeowners spread out across the entire 55+ demographic. However, that still leaves approximately 40 percent of boomers (27 million) who said that if they had complete control, they would move at least one more time. According to Freddie Mac, 19 million of those boomers plan to buy a home and eight million plan to move in the next four years.
“These are big numbers with the potential to tighten homebuying competition in the housing market, especially for millennials and other first-time homebuyers,” Becketti wrote. “They also have the potential to generate significant new demand for mortgage credit. Whether the borrower is financing age-in-place renovations or buying a new house, even a relatively modest increase in lending to 55+ homeowners could add trillions of dollars in new originations in a relatively short time. One way or another, the baby boomers' housing decisions over the next few years will take our market to brand new places.”