As Boomers age, researchers predict a nationwide 'Silver Tsunami'

Posted at 11:11 AM, Dec 30, 2019

PHOENIX — As Baby Boomers grow older and leave their homes, could a "Silver Tsunami" crater the housing market?

One real estate analyst in Phoenix says the reports have some validity, but it shouldn't be cause for concern — yet.

U.S. population growth is slowing. According to the Census Bureau, in less than two decades, seniors will outnumber children.

"The argument itself is valid, the urgency of the emergency is debatable," Tina Tamboer of The Cromford Report said.

Researchers at Zillow estimate that upwards of 20 million U.S. homes could go up for sale between now and the mid-2030s because Baby Boomers are dying or moving into assisted living.

Popular retirement areas in Arizona like El Mirage and Sun City top the list — nearly two-thirds of homes in those areas are expected to hit the market by 2037 — with Greater Phoenix overall estimated at less than one-third going up for sale.

"Currently, in the Phoenix metropolitan area, we have more inbound migration of people over the age of 55 than we have outbound migration compared to other parts of the country," Tamboer said. "I am not convinced Sun City, Sun City West, Sun Lakes and some of our 55-and-over communities are going to be the first on the front line of this particular pattern."

Plus, Tamboer said even if the low population becomes a problem for retirement communities, those communities can change their rules or lose age restrictions altogether.

The bottom line, according to Tamboer, is this is not an overnight issue if it becomes a local issue at all. A decade-and-a-half is a lot of time for things, like migration patterns and healthcare advances, to change.

The Phoenix housing market, in terms of job growth and affordability, is still very good, she said.

"I would not use something like the 'Silver Tsunami' as a reason to not purchase real estate right now," she said.

This story was originally published by Angie Koehle on KNXV in Phoenix.