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Paradigm shift: Baby boomers suffering from anxiety over paying for housing

(HOMEOWNERSHIP NEWS) A new survey conducted by the NHP Foundation, a non-profit real estate organization dedicated to “preserving America’s affordable housing” shows us that housing anxiety is multi-generational. Here’s what you need to know.

baby boomers senior management

Hyperbolized millennials

As far as pop culture can tell, making rent is a concern relegated only to frivolous millennials who spend their time finding themselves and writing memoirs of their two-ish decades of struggle and heartbreak, instead of getting real jobs. Like HBO’s Girls -Hannah Horvath got all her money from her parents until they cut her off at 25. Adam Sackler gets a check from his grandma every month. Marnie Michaels only pays for half of her Blackberry. Even the Broad City girls struggle to pay rent after they blow all their money on an exterminator, of all things.

For better or worse, our culture expects young people recently out of college to struggle, to ask for help, and receive it. We even celebrate this period of our lives as exploratory – a time for being broke and eating ramen and finding our passions. Of course, in real life, it isn’t always so simple.

Let’s get the facts straight

For instance, your parents might be less likely to subsidize your rent if they’re among the reported one-third of baby boomers (Americans ages 53-71) who worry over making their own rent, or mortgage, or property tax bill, at least once a month.

This paradigm-shifting statistic comes out of a new survey conducted by the NHP Foundation, a non-profit real estate organization dedicated to “preserving America’s affordable housing”.

They surveyed 1000 of the 75 million American boomers, and discovered a “Housing Affordability” crisis that’s aging along with America.

“The anxiety is now multi-generational,” says NHPF CEO Richard Burns, “So we are working today to increase our stock of affordable housing to ensure that this and future generations are able to afford desirable places to live.”

Who is feeling the anxiety?

“Multi-generational” means that 42 percent of retirees, specifically, worry about housing costs daily, and nearly 65 percent of boomer parents trouble themselves at least once a month over their adult children’s ability to pay for housing.

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[clickToTweet tweet=”65% of baby boomer parents worry 1x/month or more over their adult children’s affording rent.” quote=”65 percent of baby boomer parents trouble themselves at least once a month over their adult children’s ability to pay for housing.”]

This NHP survey is the third in a series of housing affordability surveys. The first targeted the general population and discovered that 75 percent were concerned about losing their housing. The second focused on millennials and determined that 76 percent compromised to find affordable housing.

According to the most recent survey, housing anxiety is strongest in the south, while boomers in the west experience this anxiety least often.

“These geographic differences demonstrate the need to tailor housing options to the unique needs of each region,” said Stefano Rumi, advisor to the NHPF and senior fellow at the Batten Center for Social Policy of the University of Virginia.

Multi-faceted anxiety

The survey also revealed a partisan divide: regarding concerns caused by the new administration, 49.96 percent related little or no anxiety, while 50.04 percent reported substantial or great anxiety. And nearly 50 percent of those surveyed believe in the power of the new administration to mitigate their housing anxiety through a guarantee of no major tax increases.

NHPF’s Burns responded, “Government measures, particularly the LIHTC (Low Income Housing Tax Credit) which gives incentives to private equity for the development of affordable housing, will continue to be vital to organizations such as ours to provide the country with stable, long-term affordable housing options.”


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Written By

Staff Writer, Natalie Bradford earned her B.A. in English from Cornell University and spends a lot of time convincing herself not to bake MORE brownies. She enjoys cats, cocktails, and good films - preferably together. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.


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