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Research Publication

Baby Boomers Are Not Leaving Their Single-Family Homes for Apartments

August 20, 2015


In this edition of Housing Insights,Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group challenges the perception that Baby Boomers are downsizing from their single-family homes. Available data through 2013, when the housing recovery was two years old, reveal no significant reduction in the rate at which Baby Boomers occupy single-family detached homes. Single-family occupancy has been stable even among the oldest Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1955), who are overwhelmingly empty-nesters and who have begun to retire in large numbers—life changes that might be expected to trigger downsizing.

Furthermore, although the average number of rooms in single-family homes occupied by Baby Boomers decreased between 2008 and 2011, Boomer home size has increased since then, suggesting that Boomers are not trading down to smaller single-family houses, either. As suggested by the lack of downsizing activity, Boomers have not been a major driver of apartment demand growth. In fact, the number of Boomer apartment dwellers has not budged in recent years, whereas the number of Millennials in multifamily rental units has grown by nearly half a million annually.

The accumulating evidence that Baby Boomers are not downsizing has important implications for the housing market. To learn more, read our latest edition of Housing Insights.

Baby Boomer Downsizing Revisited: Boomers Are Not Leaving Their Single-Family Homes for Apartments (PDF)