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Once upon a time, when Baby Boomers were really babies, people thought of houses as places to live. How quaint. The modern conviction is that houses are actually … investments!
So we learn from a survey released today by Century 21 Real Estate LLC, the franchisor of the world’s largest residential real estate sales organization. Century 21 interviewed just over 1,500 first-time buyers and first-time shoppers, split in thirds between boomers, Gen X’ers, and Gen Y’ers.
Yale economist Robert Shiller, author of “Irrational Exuberance,” says that one earmark of a speculative bubble in housing is when people start talking about a house as an investment rather than just a place to live. If he’s right, then younger people are more affected by a bubble mentality than boomers.
Forty-two percent of Gen X’ers and 39% of Gen Y’ers said they thought of a house purchase as an investment, vs. just 32% of boomers who felt that way. Boomers were more likely to think about buying a home because of a life event such as a job change or marriage.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.