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Generations aren’t as divided in homebuying as we think

With some positing that an age gap in generations is the problem in homebuying, it’s important to remember the real ‘competition.’

An older man and woman sit on a couch looking at a tablet together while smiling.

I hate generational wars. 

Some of that is because I’m older now, and I could have made some spare cash babysitting all the celebrities today after school. But more of it is because they just don’t make any sense. 

Every generation going back to Plato grousing about students writing stories down instead of memorizing them, and past that still has moaned about the next few after. And every ‘after’ generation gripes about the one before. But as I’m looking at it it’s been very… mean. 

Millennials were out here killing this and that industry, and foisting their participation trophy lust on all and sundry, Boomers were out here ironing their Klan hoods and powerwashing their electronics—it was all just a big mess. 

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Now as all of us scrap against all the rest of us to squeak into a house against all odds, NPR of all places is soliciting input from people who believe age and age alone makes someone their enemy. 

The questions on the entrance form vary, but honestly, only one portion strikes me as relevant. 

“Are you looking to buy a second home or rental property?”

That’s the competition. Not 67 year old Gladys who can’t deal with keeping up a 3 bedroom after the kids left and hubby slowed down a bit more and wants to downsize. Not 32 year old Susmita and Karl, looking to get their little one established in a walkable school district while she’s still stroller-sized. 

If I were able to mortgage a house, as much as I might want it, those people are not my competition in any meaningful way. Just the same when I apply for a job. I need it. I want it. But someone else getting it still represents an overall good thing.

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The only divide we need to discuss is between people buying homes as assets and people buying homes as homes, not their generations. My competition is 27 year olds and 77 year olds snarfing up houses they aren’t going to live in, or maintain without whining, whether they’re buying with a wealth-kickstart gift from their parents or their own accumulated cash. 

This problem, like every other problem constructed between non-monolith generations is about purchasing power and property purpose. 

Age ain’t nothin but a number. 

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You can't spell "Together" without TGOT: That Goth Over There. Staff Writer, April Bingham, is that goth; and she's all about building bridges— both metaphorically between artistry and entrepreneurship, and literally with tools she probably shouldn't be allowed to learn how to use.

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