As the nation's home builders try to claw their way out of the biggest abyss in the sector's history, the future landscape is beginning to look a bit different than they once thought.
All those "ex-urban" communities that were supposed to be the place to put shovels and money are falling victim to a changing demographic, or more accurate, a demographic that has been forced to change.
I was just reading a study from the Urban Land Institute's John McIlwain entitled, "Housing in America: The Next Decade." McIlwain divides housing demand into four major demographics: Aging baby boomers, younger baby boomers, children of baby boomers (Gen Y) and immigrants.
In the coming decade fewer of the Older Boomers will be moving. Those who have not yet sold their suburban homes find themselves trapped as falling home prices have left their homes “underwater,” worth less than the mortgage(s) on them. It will take years before home prices rise sufficiently to restore their lost equity. Those that can move are no longer flocking to the Sun Belt, choosing instead to move closer to their children, and, more importantly, their grandchildren.
I've written a lot about the different expectations of active baby boomers when it comes to housing, how they will need communities that cater more to a 5-9 (am and pm) home life than the previous generation that was fully retired by age 65 and at home 9-5.