The tail enders of the baby boom who grew up being told homeownership is the only way to go are now the fastest growing renter demographic according to the director of the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center at the Urban Institute Rolf Pendall.
He says patterns of homeownership are shifting for the over 55 year old demographic, particularly among those aged 55 to 64 years of age, where renting is becoming more common than homeownership. He says that trend is expected to continue.
Since 1990 there has been decline in the percentage of 55- to 64-year-olds owning homes. This accelerated in the wake of the financial melt down between 2010 and 2013.
Pendall predicts a 10 percent decline in the rate of homeownership for this age group between 1990 and 2030, with the numbers of renters outpacing homeowners.
"If you start out as a 44-year-old and you don't have a house, it would be very difficult for you to achieve homeownership in the next 10 years with the same probability as was true 10 years ago," he says.
"In addition, America is becoming increasingly ethnically diverse, and homeownership rates historically have been lower for Hispanics and African Americans".
Angela Boyd, managing director of the Make Room campaign, a group that advocates for affordable rents, says many Americans are hitting their 50's without sufficient a financial cushion to afford a home or even navigate a hot rental market.
"We know a third of adult Americans have no emergency savings," she says "If you don't have emergency savings, you likely don't have much in retirement savings. Now we have people getting up in years continuing to work or having to rely solely on Social Security."
Boyd says that being the case, renting, is a good option.
"People can be mobile for their job. People may not have had the ability to save for a down payment, and people have seen what can happen when you put zero percent down on your home," she says "The possibility that you can be underwater is quite real."