The next big housing problem

The housing market appears to be recovering from its worst crash in history, but just as we are seeing the market return to some semblance of normality, there are warnings of another possible housing problem. N.C. State University economist Mike Walden explains the problem to host Mary Walden.

“Well, Mary, it has to do with you and me, in the sense that we are in that so-called baby boomer category. And what’s happening, of course, to baby boomers is, a lot of them are retiring. I think it’s 4,000 a day are retiring. Many of them are empty-nesters. Many of them live in the suburbs, with maybe a 3,000- or 4,000-squar- foot house.

“And the thought is that many of those baby boomers who are retiring are going to want to sell their house (and) move to something smaller. And many of them are actually moving back closer to cities to take advantage of restaurants and entertainment, et cetera.

“The problem that some economists see is, Are those baby boomers going to be able sell their homes? And there have been some calculations done — and of course calculations are always subject to revision — but there have been some calculations done trying to estimate the number of those so-called big suburban baby boomer homes that are going to be up for sale in the future compared to the number of young people who are going want to buy those homes. And some experts see a gap: too many homes for sale versus the number people want to buy them. Therefore, those baby boomers won’t be able to sell their homes for the price they want, and we are going to see price declines.

“Now this is a vary according the region you are in — probably less of a factor here in North Carolina where we’re growing, but in some states it may be a big problem.”

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