Baby boomers are doubly worried about housing affordability—for themselves, and the next generation of homeowners and renters.
A new report by The NHP Foundation reveals 30 percent of those aged 55-plus feel “anxiety” about affording housing in their area at least once per month, and 64 percent also feel concern about their adult children affording housing. Affordability recently fell to its lowest level since 2008, and a recent analysis reveals the average homebuyer needs to spend more than two-thirds of their annual income to afford a 20 percent down payment.
“The anxiety is now multi-generational,” says Richard Burns, CEO of The NHP Foundation.
The majority of those surveyed in the report have “great” or “substantial” anxiety about housing affordability as a result of the new administration—eased only if policies deliver benefits like protections from mortgage and/or rent increases, secure employment and “stable” property taxes. Fourteen percent believe more affordable construction would also lessen anxiety.
Location plays a role in the level of anxiety baby boomers feel, according to the report. Twenty percent of those living in the Midwest are concerned about housing payments, compared to 38 percent of those living in the South. A recent forecast projects home prices in the Midwest to rise 3.4 percent in 2017, with those in the South to rise 3.5 percent. Those in the West—where home prices are expected to rise just 1 percent—feel the lowest level of anxiety.
“Though housing insecurity is a national problem, these geographic differences demonstrate the need to tailor housing options to the unique needs of each region,” says Stefano Rumi, an advisor to The NHP Foundation and a senior fellow at the Batten Center for Social Policy at the University of Virginia. “The winning solutions will incorporate private and public partnerships to finance affordable housing. This means a ‘YIMBY’ attitude on the part of local communities and elected officials.”