There are so many more options now that make it easier for older adults to stay in their homes as they get older. There is in-home medical care, meal delivery services, in-home helpers for cooking and cleaning, and even ways to retrofit your home to make it more accommodating. Fairly minimal home accommodation projects could be adding a ramp at the front door, a chair lift for the staircase, grab bars in the bath/shower, etc.
Staying in the home really allows older adults to keep their sense of dignity and independence. However, this new norm is having a national impact on the available housing options for younger generations.
During and after The Great Recession, it was not uncommon for more and more Boomers to continue in their jobs past the age of 65 due to the downward effects on their retirement accounts. This left less and less job openings available for younger adults (Millennials) to jump in and start their careers. This also had a direct impact on the average age of first-time home buyers. Because the millennials were starting their careers at a later age, it delayed their ability to save money for a home.
Several decades ago, it was common for children to leave the home and their parents to downsize or move into nursing home or retirement communities, thus freeing up their home for someone else to purchase. Now, fewer adults between the ages of 67 and 85 are leaving their homes, and that is causing a major shortage of available houses for sale. After all, the housing market is like a cycle and any time that cycle gets jammed up (such as older Americans not selling their homes and lots of younger ones wanting to buy), there is imbalance and throws the market for a loop. Granted there are a lot of factors contributing to housing shortages across the country but I have found this is one that isn’t talked about nearly enough. Most don’t realize that Millennials are now the largest generation and very much are into buying homes. This “aging in place” dynamic is not going to help things. Maybe in another article I’ll talk about the effect of driverless cars on the housing market. Someday maybe… But for now, this is a relatively new development the market will have to sort out.