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Our study on U.S. Millennials and their difficult path to home ownership has spotlighted the role family and older generations play in hindering—but also helping—25 to 40-year-olds in their quest to buy a home. Discussion of this issue requires both more sensitivity to this generation’s plight and also a willingness to test the validity of what our survey subjects asserted: that Baby Boomers in particular are getting in the way of their ability to buy affordable homes. While trying to understand this phenomenon, one theme kept coming back through hundreds of our surveyed millennials’ comments—there’s a quasi-war being waged on the housing front between U.S. millennials and the generation representing their parents and grandparents.

Where Are All The Affordable Houses Going?

As millennials reach the point in their lives when they want to buy a starter home, Baby Boomers are deciding to downsize, putting a strain on the available stock of smaller houses. With longer life expectancies and better overall health than any generation in history, Boomers are not quite ready to give up on private home ownership—and with the pandemic horror stories about retirement homes and care facilities, this attitude becomes understandable.