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Housing Expert Forum: What are the best options for the millions of single-family homes that may be left behind by Baby Boomers as they age, many of which are in suburban or exurban communities?

Welcome to the BPC Housing Commission expert forum! This forum is intended to foster interactive and substantive discussion about pressing housing issues. Each month contributors from different parts of the housing sector will be invited to respond to a discussion topic.

Guest posts are shared regularly with Housing Commissioners to help inform their work.

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Expert bloggers are not members of the BPC Housing Commission. Any views expressed on this forum do not necessarily represent the views of the Housing Commission, its Co-Chairs, or the Bipartisan Policy Center.

What are the best options for the millions of single-family homes that may be left behind by Baby Boomers as they age, many of which are in suburban or exurban communities? Is it realistic to retrofit homes and neighborhoods to accommodate changing demand?


An Innovative Solution to Keep Baby Boomers in Their Homes

By Conrad Egan

Let me take a somewhat different tack from the assumption that the aging Baby Boomers have to leave their homes as quickly as the proposition suggests. Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), which are small units retrofitted into existing homes and, sometimes, constructed as independent units, can enable the aging boomers to remain in their homes longer. ADUs can provide opportunities to support in-house caregivers with live-in accommodations. They can also provide opportunities for additional affordable homes.

Read the full post here.


Revitalizing Neighborhoods Begins With Residents

By Jonathan T.M. Reckford

Both the housing crisis and the desire of Baby Boomers to downsize and relocate have left neighborhoods all across the U.S. struggling to retain a sense of community.

In a number of areas, however, residents who love the places where they live are banding together to solve neighborhood problems and rebuild their communities to meet changing needs.

Read the full post here.


An Uncertain Future Calls for a Flexible Housing Market

By Mark Calabria

Perhaps no trend will have greater significance on the American economy than the aging of the American population. We are getting older, with little chance that new immigration or increased fertility will balance out the “pig in the python” that is the Baby Boomers. While everyone has a pet theory about how the aging of America will impact our housing markets, the reality is that we simply don’t know where and how retiring Baby Boomers want to live. Accordingly our best preparation is to maintain a dynamic, flexible and open housing market.

Read the full post here.


One Baby Boomer’s Story

By Kent Watkins

Rather than expound on grand concepts and tiers of statistics this month, I will tell a simple story in response to your question – one of a million stories behind the histograms. I am a Baby Boomer who divorced, left our Spring Valley house in Washington, D.C., and eventually bought a 7-bedroom house in the village of Somerset, MD. I sold it ten years later at the right time to a younger couple with two children, a perfect occupier of this house, with its suburban amenities. Now I live in a nearby gated community with a pool, tennis courts, shopping area next door through a locked gate, and use a car most of the time. I would have preferred to live next to the Bethesda rail station, but at half the space for 30 percent more cost? On the other hand, my two grandchildren are just a mile or so away.

Read the full post here.


Boomers Aren’t Going Anywhere Just Yet

By Bill Kelly

Even though we have begun to see a shift in preferences from large lot suburban and exurban single family homes to denser housing closer in, the effect on housing occupied by Baby Boomers is likely to be muted for a decade or more in most markets.

The latest State of the Nation’s Housing report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies notes that homeownership remains very high for Baby Boomers, 78.5 percent for those between 55 and 65. Just 1.9 percent of owner-occupants aged 65?74 in 2011 had changed residences within the previous year, down from about 3.3 percent in 2007.

Read the full post here.


Emptying the Nests?

By David A. Smith

America’s housing stock is in a new era unlike any we’ve experienced, and that will call for rethinking some basic premises about housing consumption, tenure, and household patterns.

For six decades, 1947-2007, everything about America’s housing market was predicated on expansion. American homes have become progressively larger, more complicated, and more technological. Housing consumption rose not only because of birth and immigration but also because households became smaller (as housing was cheap and was seen as cheap). Home prices outpaced inflation because people believed owning a home was a slow moving sidewalk to future retirement wealth.

Read the full post here.


Exploring the Benefits of Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities

By William J. Gilmartin

It is true that Baby Boomers will leave millions of single family homes available for succeeding generations, most notably the Echo Boomers (or Millennials). Before contemplating how those homes might be adapted for these younger homeowners, we should consider how the homes and neighborhoods of Baby Boomers can evolve and be adapted as millions choose to remain in place as long as possible. Surveys indicate an overwhelming desire by aging Americans to remain in their homes and local communities. The phenomenon of naturally occurring retirement communities (NORC’s) is growing throughout the country. The benefits to individuals and families and to society are many and must be considered.

Read the full post here.

INFOGRAPHIC: Generation Gap

Large numbers of Baby Boomers may move out of their current homes over the next decade. The extent to which younger Echo Boomer households are in a position to buy those homes will affect neighborhood stability and the demand for new construction.

View BPC’s infographic

Past Forums

May 2012 Housing Expert Forum: What can we learn from current or previous efforts to link evidence-based outcomes to policy or program development?

April 2012 Housing Expert Forum: What lessons can the U.S. learn from housing programs, policies, or regulatory frameworks in other countries?

March 2012 Housing Expert Forum: How can housing policy be responsive to today’s urgent needs and simultaneously address long-term trends?

February 2012 Housing Expert Forum: What are some of the key characteristics of a healthy housing system? And how can the success of these features be measured?

January 2012 Housing Expert Forum: What should the federal government do to address the inventory of foreclosed properties?

December 2011 Housing Expert Forum: What are the most pressing issues in housing policy today?

2012-07-05 00:00:00

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