Apr 1, 2024 - News

Why empty nesters in Salt Lake City are holding on to their homes

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

Empty nesters own about 22% of Salt Lake City's family-sized homes, while millennials with children own a smaller share, per a recent Redfin report.

By the numbers: Salt Lake City is among the metros — including Austin, Texas, Houston, Riverside and San Jose, California, — where empty nesters own the smallest share of homes with at least three bedrooms in the U.S., according to Redfin.

The other side: Millennials with kids own about 16% of family-sized homes in the Salt Lake metro, which is higher than the national average of 14%.

  • Nationally, 28% of empty nesters own large homes.

The big picture: Utah's high housing costs have deterred many young people from buying.

  • The median sale price of a Utah home in February was $542,100, an 8% year-over-year increase.

What they're saying: "We're not the fastest-growing state in the country anymore, and that is because of the cost of living," Gov. Spencer Cox told reporters last month, per KSL.com. "Either you don't have a job, or you have a job, but you can't buy a house. Both of those make you leave."

State of play: The problem for many 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 nationwide who plan to sell their home, 85% said they intend to do so in the next three years according to an Opendoor survey.

Between the lines: Housing affordability got worse last year. For many millennials in the U.S., the only way to buy a house was 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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