The largest generation is finally starting to buy houses. The trouble is, there aren't enough houses for sale to feed their appetite, at least not enough they can afford.
Enter the nation's recovering homebuilders. They may want to play to this great big audience, but doing that will hurt their bottom lines.
"Since the recovery has really been at the middle end of the market, home prices have gone up and land prices have followed," said Megan McGrath, managing director at MKM Partners. "So it is very, very hard to make a good profit at a lower price point these days."
In the wake of the Great Recession, investors both small and institutional swooped in and bought hundreds of thousands of foreclosed properties. The vast majority of those were originally lower-priced so-called starter homes. Some of them were barely a few years old, thanks to the massive boom in construction. Rather than sell them when home prices recovered, investors held onto them, turning them into still lucrative single-family rentals. As a result, there are very few existing starter homes for sale today.