Sorry, younger house hunters: Boomers are staying put

First-time home buyers, especially millennials and Gen Xers, are facing an uphill battle when it comes to house hunting. This is in part because of a growing trend in which baby boomers, the generation that owns the largest share of American homes, are planning to stay put—leading to less inventory for new buyers.

However, rates of baby boomer homeownership vary across local and state markets. Researchers calculated the percentage of owner-occupied households that are headed by baby boomers, then ranked locations accordingly.For the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area, here’s some of what was learned:

  • Baby boomers account for 33 percent of homeowners in Seattle, though they make up only 18 percent of the metro area’s population.
  • Nationally, while baby boomers comprise 20 percent of the population, they account for 37 percent of all U.S. homeowners. The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue percentage is the ninth-lowest nationally.
  • Overall, the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue housing market is less dominated by baby boomers than the nation as a whole.

The research was conducted by Construction Coverage and based on analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s population survey data. Construction Coverage, based in San Diego, Calif., provides construction-related business and market information for builders and real estate professionals.

According to the Census Bureau, the national share of homeowners older than 55 increased steadily from 44 percent in 2008 to 54 percent in 2021.

AARP reports that 77 percent of Americans over the age of 50 would prefer to remain in their current home, rather than move in with relatives, to a nursing home, or to an assisted-living facility.