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Baby boomers will impact housing for decades to come

Tuesday - 8/13/2013, 5:22am  ET

ARLINGTON, Va. - For decades, baby boomers have dominated the market place. Now, as the youngest members of the post-World War II generation reach retirement, they continue to play a vital role in the Washington region's housing market.

A new report on area housing from the George Mason University shows close to 47 percent of 1.3 million homeowners in the region are between 45 and 65.

GMU researcher David Versel says within 30 years or so, most neighborhoods in the region will look very different, and some communities will have trouble thriving if changes aren't made now.

"There's a lot of concern that the next generation of home buyers, the millenials, will not want to buy into the suburban dream that their parents bought into, or they won't be able to afford it," says Versel.

Versel says there could be trouble ahead for baby boomers who want to stay in this region but downsize into homes closer to transit. Those are the same homes their children may want.

"The younger generation wants to live in walkable places, that even if they are technically in a suburb, it feels more like a city," says Versel.

And for boomers that means a tight housing market. Currently, the median price of homes across the Washington region is close to $400,000.

"If you are selling a single-family house to move there, you may not sell down in price because the prices may be similar," he says.

The report says Fairfax County has the highest number of homeowners ages 45 to 64 - 50 percent. The District of Columbia has the lowest number in that age group at 39.9 percent.

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