Housing Slowdown Making it Hard for Empty Nesters

Parents whose children have grown up and are no longer living at home, often referred to as empty nesters, are not a very happy bunch these days.  Many are finding that their next phase of life is being held hostage by a giant albatross.  With the kids gone, their lifestyle is more suited for a luxury condo downtown than the suburban house with swimming pool.  However, until they can sell their albatross (aka home sweet home) – they are stuck dealing with the lawnmower and snow blower. 

Today’s Boston Globe really opened my eyes.  It used the dreaded four letter word that is often used in association with the housing market – GLUT.  It stated that September sales of single family homes were down 24% from last year.  The slow down has produced a glut of houses for sale, enough to last 13 months. The problem has been magnified by the baby boomers trying to sell to downsize.

The article mentioned the story of one couple that represents many people in the area.  They had just taken their home off the market after being on sale for nearly a year.  They had one buyer for their home last December for $419,000, but the offer was withdrawn days before the closing.  When they pulled the house off the market, the asking price was $329,000.  The price had been reduced over 20% and still no buyers.  The Boston market has seen double digit appreciation for past several years.  If you have been in your house for awhile you can afford to lower your price 20-30%, but how low can you go.  The couple stated that “no reasonable offer will be refused,” but still no takers.

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