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The Boston Globe

Magazine

The Boomers Issue

Downsizing doomsday?

Why some experts worry a mass sell-off of sprawling suburban homes could stall the housing market.

WITH BIDDING WARS heating up, construction booming, and mortgage rates still at historic lows, the housing market is finally on the rise — but a new problem might be on the horizon. And the baby boomers now pondering downsizing could be to blame.

When empty nesters decide en masse to try and unload those sprawling homes in Newton and Wellesley in the coming decade — and with them all the yardwork, maintenance, and heating bills — experts fear the glut of houses could burst this area’s fragile recovery. Boomer housing is “a very hot topic right now,” says Davenport Crocker Jr., regional vice president for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Massachusetts. “At the midyear meeting of the National Association of Realtors, there was discussion of that pending avalanche of homes.”

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