Saturday, November 23, 2019

Have we committed a terrible blunder with our assumptions about the future price of property?

There are three reasons why this is my first blog post for 9 months. I have been busy enjoying myself and working on a new project that has nothing to do with marketing or ageing. The main reason is that the Ageing Business seems as if it has gone into stasis. Sure there have been lots of reports, conferences and 'events' but little has changed. Same old issues - same absence of innovative solutions.

Today I read two articles that made me stop and think. One was in the WSJ and the other The Times, Both were about property and (unfortunately) both are behind paywalls. I have provided the links in case you are subscribers.

 OK Boomer, Who’s Going to Buy Your 21 Million Homes? is the better article and provides the most statistical data to substantiate its arguments.

Don't be put off by the headline that couldn't help inject the banal 'OK Boomer' insult that has suddenly got so much attention. The issue it identifies is the mismatch between a lot of property that is owned by older people and those that want (more likely don't want) to buy it.

Think about this statistic:

Seniors are expected to vacate roughly 21 million homes over the next two decades. That’s more than the amount of new properties sold during a previous two-decade period that ended with a housing boom.

Now here is the nasty bit. The people (the young) the generation of buyers of these properties is smaller in size and - as they constantly tell us - in a precarious financial position. Neither of these things are magically going to change. Add to that the properties owned by dying boomers are likely to be in places that the young don't want to live. Remember that the trend for the urbanisation of the population is as powerful as demographic ageing. Do you see the problem?

We have a mismatch between the supply of property and the expectations of property price. How many people have you heard say 'my house is my pension'? Not any more buster. How many times have you heard the arguments about care being supported by the sale of older person's property? Maybe that aint going to happen.

The article in The Times was saying much the same thing.

The bottom line to this blog post is this - I think our assumptions about future property price and property demand is probably dreadfully wrong. I think we are going to have lots of property in the wrong place being sold for prices that are far below expectations.

Maybe some bright spark in the Ageing Business is thinking about this issue. Somehow I doubt it. Dick Stroud

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