Mar 30, 2024 - News

Why Denver boomers won't sell their big houses

Share of ownership of large homes by generation and market
Data: Redfin; Chart: Axios Visuals

Empty nesters are locking up a quarter of Denver's family-sized homes, according to a recent Redfin report.

Why it matters: "OK Boomer" might sting more when it comes from millennials eyeing the keys to your three-bedroom house.

What's happening: Low inventory and high housing costs are impacting first-time and repeat buyers alike.

  • For example, reader Diane Kraft told us she'd like to downsize from her three-story Littleton condo but believes the move would cost her more than she'd gain.

State of play: The problem for younger families is baby boomers don't have much motivation to sell, according to Redfin senior economist Sheharyar Bokhari.

  • Boomers typically have low housing costs, and most of them "are only in their 60s, still young enough that they can take care of themselves and their home without help," Bokhari said in the report.

Reality check: Seniors are still downsizing, sometimes to luxury apartments.

  • Of 1,020 boomers Opendoor surveyed nationwide in January 2024 who plan to sell their home, 85% said they intend to do so in the next three years.

The big picture: Homeowners nationally are holding on to their homes nearly twice as long as they did in 2005, Redfin research shows.

  • Many of those staying put are aging in place. Most baby boomers who own houses are mortgage-free or have a low interest rate, according to the brokerage.

Between the lines: Housing affordability got worse last year. For some millennials in Denver and many around the country, the only way to buy a house is with family help.

What's next: Many young families are renting single-family houses.

Go deeper: America's homebuyers are getting older

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