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Perspectives Blog

Housing Myths Debunked: Millennials, Not Baby Boomers, Are Force Behind Recent Surge in Apartment Demand

March 1, 2016

Patrick Simmons

Popular notion holds that Baby Boomers downsizing their homes are a major force behind the recent apartment boom. One recent article noted that the “magnitude of Boomers’ rental demand [has stunned] some industry observers,” while another asserted that “boomers are renting apartments and buying condos at more than twice the rate of their millennial children.”1

The problem with these accounts is that they aren’t supported by the data.

One likely cause of the misconception that Boomers are driving apartment demand is confusion between changes in demand by generation (i.e., a group of persons born during the same period) and by age group. To disentangle these two distinctive ways of looking at demand trends, we built a dynamic data visualization tool that illustrates the net change in apartment2 consumption between 2009 and 2014 (the latest data available) both by generation and by age.3