Definition of "Agequake"

CHRIS  SMITH real estate agent

Agequake is not the era of earthquakes!

It’s a term that was coined by author Paul Wallace in his 1999 book “Agequake: Ridding the demographic rollercoaster shaking business, finance and our world” and describes a shift in the population pyramid. However statistically backed by Wallace, we could say that this was nothing but an educated guess, however, here we are, almost 20 years later, and guess what? His predictions were pretty much accurate and we are already feeling the effects of the demographic pyramid turned upside-down.

See, the Agequake is basically the continued reign of the Baby Boomer generation. Up until then, each new generation had a certain life expectancy and each new generation had the expectancy to financially live a better life than the generation before. But that stopped with the Millennials. Why? Because, through the advance of medicine and better habits, the Baby Boomers are living (with quality) longer than ever. Which makes them stay longer in the workforce, putting a burden on social security and making everything harder for the Millennial generation, that now has to deal with a supersaturated job market with a much steeper corporate ladder to climb and no safety net (social security) to fall back.

The practical effect of Agequake is the economical focus on a demographic that used to be slim, but now is huge (and has more money than any other demographic): people from 55 and up. That’s why you see a lot of “old” shows and entertainment franchises being brought back to life – rather than having “remakes” - nowadays.  

In real estate, Agequake is starting to manifest itself more by the absence of Millennials buying houses than by a “change” in the target. The thing is that the real estate market as we know it is arguably what it is because of the baby boomers. Before them, it was a mere housing necessity; after them, it became much more than that. It became an industry, a market, an investment venue. So, as the Baby Boomers lingered around, the real estate industry never really had to change its target. However, as time continues to pass and life happens with uncontrollable events like accidents and an increasing cost of health insurance, chances are the Boomers are the ones who’ll have to adapt their real estate expectations.


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Want to read a more in-depth article about the subject? Read our Agequake: can the population pyramid affect the real estate market? on Realty Times.

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