The iconic American single-family home was a housing model for a different era, when Baby Boomers were raising their kids, gas was cheap, and suburbia beckoned. But today, Boomers are preparing to retire and downsize, while many of their children are eager to live elsewhere, trading home ownership for rentals, suburbs for cities, two-car garages for more-compact living. Can the housing market alter course in time to accommodate everyone? And what will happen to the Boomers’ dream homes in the suburbs if no one lines up to buy them?
Emily Badger is a former staff writer at CityLab. Her work has previously appeared in Pacific Standard, GOOD, The Christian Science Monitor, and The New York Times. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area.