It’s become obvious to us all. In the real estate game, baby boomers have beat the other generations.
We don’t even have to keep score anymore, or keep guessing where the market will be in 20 years to figure out that they’ve won. Frankly, there’s nothing Generations X, Y, or Z can do to get ahead.
According to a report in the Toronto Star, home sales in Ontario have dropped $173,000 since the provincial government came forward with the Fair Housing Plan in April. However, there’s not much the government can do about the boomers who are comfortable where they are.
Baby boomers are lucky. They have options — keeping the home they’ve grown to love, cashing out and downsizing, buying a cottage, another home. The rest of us don’t have that luxury. Some of us aren’t at a point where downsizing makes sense, and others don’t own a home at all.
Baby boomers are at an age where their children have, or will be leaving the home.
Generation X is at an age where their children are still living at home.
Generation Y (the millennials) are trying to move out, many may have entry-level jobs, or are still figuring out their careers. Some haven’t even finished school.
Regardless of the options boomers have, a recent Bloomberg report suggests that this generation is actually choosing to stay in their homes, which makes matters worse for the millennial generation, who are trying to purchase their first property. Or Generation Xers for that matter, who wanted to sell their homes while the market was hot, but couldn’t afford to purchase a new one. Many in the latter generations may also be living in the first home they purchased years ago, with the thought that by the time they were to expand their family, they’d be able to upgrade.
But it doesn’t look like that will be happening with ease anytime soon.
Rather than downsizing after becoming empty-nesters, boomers are making the decision to stay in their single-family homes and renovate, in effect creating supply/demand challenges for the rest of us.
“When I am out door-knocking for my clients, I am overwhelmed by the number of baby boomers that have been living in their homes for over 20 years,” says real estate agent Lorne Tanz of Slavens & Associates. “I’ve heard from various homeowners that they would rather spend their money renovating, rather than moving.”
It makes sense for them to renovate. Moving costs are expensive, and they’ve grown comfortable where they are anyway. What positive news for the home renovation business.
It’s not such fair competition, when the boomer generation has arguably more money to play with than the rest of us. If reports say that many plan to stay in their homes as they age, what does that mean for the rest of us? Raising our children in 700-square-foot condos with no backyard, that’s what.
When asked why a baby boomer living in her Toronto home for 30 years has decided not to downsize, she said: “Downsize? Sounds delightful in theory, but my family is getting bigger, not smaller. Like most baby boomers, my dream is to have grandkids sleepover and play in the backyard, and why give up a basement playroom?”
But it may not be so bad. Toronto has been adjusting to this family-condo-lifestyle, as developers have risen to this challenge, designing more family-friendly spaces with amenities especially for the kids.
We’ve adjusted to far worse in the past. Generation X had to succumb to the horrors of life led by social media and technology.
And millennials, well, they’ll just have to adjust to not getting absolutely everything they want as soon as they ask for it.