Way too many bedrooms

With the steady and dramatic drop in the US birth rate–it has never been lower than it is now, and it continues dropping–most couples now rarely have more than one or two children, if they have children at all. And single mothers follow the same pattern, one or two children. This means that there will soon be–within a decade, maybe–a glut of homes with three, four and five bedrooms. Indeed, as boomers die or sell off their large homes, these houses will begin hitting the market in huge numbers. Very few families with one or two kids will buy a five bedroom home. Childless couples will be even less likely to buy one. Yet suburbia, older urban neighborhoods, small towns and rural America contain far more homes with more than two bedrooms than they do homes with one of two bedrooms. Who will buy these houses? The prices will have to fall, indeed, a five bedroom house might be cheaper than a two bedroom house. And will renters, as there will still be a lack of places to rent (in large part because there are so many homes with too many bedrooms that make them expensive for a single family to rent) begin moving into these large homes, four or five tenants per home? It could be cheaper to rent a bedroom in a plush four or five bedroom home in Palos Verdes Estates than it would be to rent a studio apartment in Silver Lake. And I think we will see this begin happening within ten years. This is becoming a country of families with very few children or no children at all, in a land full of houses built for families with four and five children. We’re not the only country having less kids, of course, but we’re the only one that’s so full of sprawling ranch houses and three floor Victorians and four bedroom row houses. Things will be a lot better soon enough. Those Generation X kids will live out their fifties and sixties without spending half their monthly income on rent. As for us late period baby boomers, those of us born in the late fifties and early sixties….well, we’re screwed. We came of age in the 70’s and are getting old in the teens, two economically fucked up decades, complete messes, with politics just as horrid and everyone too broke to make the mortgage or rent. Oh well. It’s all in the timing.

abandoned farmhouse

Abandoned farm house in eastern Colorado. The great plains have been depopulated, the children grew up and moved away, the old people died, and their houses can be had for a song.

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2 thoughts on “Way too many bedrooms

  1. Definitely count us among the deliberately childless. We just don’t like them. Our house is bigger than two people need, and a couple of rooms we use as “office” or whatever might have been intended as bedrooms for the kids, but it doesn’t seem too big for all the cats. That’s what may happen to some of those big houses — animal people.

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