A New Blow to Housing: More Boomers Will Stay Put

The housing market needs demand. It looks like baby boomers will not be among those likely to buy new homes. That will further undermine an increase in prices and possible drop in inventory, which will extend trouble in the sector. Many boomers want to move to places with warm climates, but many older people will not move at all.

A new Associated poll shows that baby boomers do not, in many cases, plan to relocate from where they live now. They cannot afford to. Some may buy smaller homes. That is only possible if they can sell the ones they have now. And many of these houses are underwater because of the collapse in the real estate market.

Some boomers continue to dream, the survey shows. A small number of them would like to live near a beach or golf course. Most just want to live in a house with only one floor, close to their families, and with medical care facilities nearby.

The housing market is already under pressure because Americans are not as mobile as they were in the past. Too many are unemployed. Too many others have underwater mortgages. Still others are worried that the drop in home prices is not over. Now, added to those problems, older Americans cannot afford to move, which means that much of the unsold inventory in places like Florida and Arizona will remain unsold.

Douglas A. McIntyre