Sunday, March 09, 2008

SFGate: Aging Boomers could burst housing bubble

"The common perception among economists is that the current housing bubble will be a relatively short-term affair that should see a return to normal within the next few years.

But according to a study by two University of Southern California researchers, a bubble of even more monumental proportions lies just ahead. They call it the "generational housing bubble," and maintain that it will be fueled by the same Baby Boomers who have been bidding up prices since 1970 as they moved higher and higher on the housing ladder.

Now, though, the 78 million Boomers are about to enter the years when people tend to become sellers rather than buyers. And as a result, they expect "many more homes (will be) available for sale than there are buyers for them."

According to the researchers, the tilt toward age groups that are net sellers of housing is unprecedented. "The Baby Boom generation was born over a period of 18 years, and once its sell-off commences, it could dominate the housing market for up to two decades," they say.

As the elderly become more numerous than the young, and as they shift into seller mode, the researchers postulate, the market shift could come quickly after 2010, causing housing prices to fall."

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