Huge Opportunity in Convincing Baby Boomers to Sell Homes

BY Courtney Huckabay
Featured image for “Huge Opportunity in Convincing Baby Boomers to Sell Homes”

People 55 and older own 53 percent of U.S. owner-​occupied houses, the biggest share since the government started collecting data in 1900, according to real estate website Trulia. That’s up from 43 percent a decade ago. Those ages 18 to 34 possess just 11 percent. When they were that age, baby boomers had homes at almost twice that level.

"Millennials are desperate to get a piece of an increasingly scarce commodity: prime American real estate. Millennials are finding themselves out in the cold because building has slowed, and longer-​living baby boomers are staying put, setting up a simmering conflict between the two biggest generations in U.S. history," Prashant Gopal reports for Bloomberg News.

In fact, the new AudienceSCAN survey results revealed only 4.6% of Americans plan to sell their primary homes in the next 12 months, and only 5.6% of them are aged 65 and older.

To succeed, buyers and real estate brokers must show uncommon persistence and, at times, diplomacy. Many millennial buyers have tried sheriff’s sales, losing bidding wars, and leaving notes in mailboxes, all to no avail.

The ones who DO want to sell are 70% more likely than average to live in city, urban or metropolitan locations, according to new AudienceSCAN data.

"Public policy contributes to the generational standoff. Property-​tax exemptions for longtime residents keep older Americans from moving. Zoning rules make it harder to build affordable apartments attractive to senior citizens."

Brokerages can reach out to Home Sellers through mobile smartphone apps or text messages, because new AudienceSCAN research found 52% took action after viewing these in the past 30 days.

The system is gridlocked,” says Dowell Myers, a professor of urban planning and demography at the University of Southern California. “The seniors aren’t turning over homes as fast as they used to, so there are very few existing homes coming online. To turn it over, they’ll have to have a landing place.”

"In Lexington, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb, broker Dani Fleming offers pizza and refreshments to entice the mostly elderly homeowners to attend seller seminars on “how to unlock the potential of your home.”

Realtors can use TV to implore Home Sellers to list. The new AudienceSCAN study found 83% of Home Sellers took action after watching commercials on television (over-​the-​air, online, mobile or tablet) in the past year.

"In Alameda, California, east of San Francisco, 38-​year-​old Angela Hockabout, her husband and their two children live with her 76-​year-​old mother-​in-​law, who is holding onto the home because the real estate taxes are so low. Under the almost-​40-​year-​old ballot measure Proposition 13, they are tied to the property’s value when the house was purchased in the 1970s."

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.