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KIRO Radio's Tom Kelly digs deep into the Puget Sound real estate market

Real Estate

Will the 'Great Senior Sell-Off' have buyers?

About 1.5 to 2 million homes belonging to seniors will come on the market by the end of this decade, predicts Arthur C. Nelson, professor of urban planning at the University of Utah.

Nelson says he sees a momentum growing among baby boomers to put their homes up for sale and downsize.

"This is the decade of the shakeout, where the boomers will begin turning 65 and we'll begin to see how they influence the housing market," Nelson told The Chicago Tribune. Nelson cites other research that shows when people hit their late 60s they tend to start selling off their homes at a much faster rate.

The baby boomer generation began reaching age 65 in 2011 and will continue until 2029.

"As they enter their late 60s, they'll begin to unload their homes in cumulatively higher rates," Nelson said. "I'm calling it the Great Senior Sell-Off."

But Nelson says he's concerned there may not be enough buyers for the homes.

About 80 percent of seniors are homeowners when they reach 65-the highest home ownership rate among any age group. But Nelson notes that about 4 percent of senior homeowners move each year and about 60 percent of them then opt to move into rentals. As such, Nelson predicts a surge in construction of apartments for more affluent renters.

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