Calculated Risk vs Mish: Demographics Good for Housing?

Are demographic trends good for housing? Here are two views.

In Largest 5-year cohorts, and Ten most Common Ages in 2017 Calculated Risk noted "The younger baby boom generation dominated in 2010. By 2017 the millennials have taken over. And by 2020, the boomers are off the list."

He concluded "My view is this is positive for both housing and the economy, especially in the 2020s."

Color Coding

To judge that assessment, I took Calculated Risk's table and color coded it.

  • Red: Not Buying
  • Yellow: Likely Cannot Afford to Buy
  • Green: Potential First Time Buyers

2030 is too far away to make an assessment. Too many things can happen. Instead, let's discuss the next five years or so, using the middle column as our guide.


  • There is a favorable shift from cohorts 4-5 to chorts 2-3.
  • The first "not buying" cohort jumps from cohort 7 to cohort 4.
  • There were three "not buying" groups in 2017 but there are four in 2020.
  • There was a favorable shift from "cannot afford" from 2017 to 2020.

On the surface, the demographic trends may appear neutral or slightly favorable. However, I was pretty lenient with the green, potential first-time buyers.

Given housing price trends, most 25-29 cannot afford a house now and unless there is a price crash, those conditions will not change in the next five years.

Also, attitudes towards family formation and mobility have changed.

Finally, as boomers die off, millennials will inherit their parents homes. This will put a supply of homes up for sale, at a clear impact to prices.

For now, and the next five years, attitudes and affordability are the key issues. They far outweigh any potential demographic benefit, if any.

Home Buyer's Dilemma

The only way that changes in the next five years is is housing crashes. And if that happens, what happens to jobs and wages?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (24)
No. 1-24

The larger trend may be the continuing migration from rural to urban/suburban and to some extent from state to state which will pressure home prices in cities.


Porous borders will continue to keep housing in demand. And one can't assign accurate numbers to "illegal" immigration. One could venture a guess that there are at least tens of millions of Mexicans and South Americans who will find their way here, if they can. Politicians will help them along, because "Growth" you know? Votes, too. They see what's happening to Japan, and won't let it happen here. All this BS about walls is ridiculous. Hell, the .gov can't even keep drugs out of Prisons, let alone prevent people crossing borders.


A small problem with your chart, Mish. I doubt that the 5-9 year olds in 2030 will be first time buyers.


The rankings don't really indicate much. What matters is the actual numbers in each cohort.

Runner Dan
Runner Dan

"My view is this is positive for both housing and the economy, especially in the 2020s." Yes, younger people becoming over indebted to purchase wood on dirt on which they will be taxed yearly will be good for the economy – if your interests are aligned with bankers. Otherwise the truer statement is that if every millennial decided housing was another scam perpetrated by the older generation (like healthcare and education) and rather decided to spend their meager discretionary savings on exercise equipment and/or other low budget fortifying activities (perhaps developing another skill set through an online class), THAT would be better for the economy!