The Silver Tsunami Explained

By 2027, cars may be exclusively self-driving and universal health care may not just be a distant dream. Also by 2027, seniors (60+) will begin leaving millions of houses in metro areas across the United States. As baby boomers continue to age, millions of their residences will be put on the market, resulting in a large housing boom. This is all set to take place between 2027 and 2037 and it’s been dubbed the “Silver Tsunami.”

As with any tsunami—water-based or otherwise—it’s best to be prepared. First-time homebuyers may wish to be especially prepared as the Silver Tsunami is expected to put millions of homes on the market, lowering the market rate. However, some metro areas will see a heavier influx of available homes than others. Therefore, preparation for this housing boom involves knowing which metro areas will see the highest increase in houses on the market between 2027 and 2037.

View Silver Tsunami in a full screen map

The map above displays Zillow’s mortality data which is used to predict the metro areas that will see the most homes go on the market. You can manipulate the sortable categories on the map so that you too can understand the Silver Tsunami and how it will affect the housing market. Or read on for an explanation as to where the Silver Tsunami will hit the hardest when it begins in 2027.

Locations Hit Hardest by Silver Tsunami in 2027

By 2027, seven metro areas in the U.S. will see 13.5% or more of houses put on the market as a result of the Silver Tsunami. Three of the seven areas are located in the same state, as you can see on the table below or on the map when sorting by 2027 and selecting the first range (“15.2%-13.5%”).

Metro Area State By 2027
Tampa FL 15.20%
Miami FL 15.20%
Tucson AZ 14.80%
Orlando FL 14.40%
Dayton OH 14.30%
Pittsburgh PA 13.60%
Knoxville TN 13.50%
Greensboro NC 13.30%
Cleveland OH 13.20%
Buffalo NY 13.20%

It seems Florida is the place to be (or at least buy a home) in 2027. A popular retirement hub, it’s no wonder so many homes are expected to go on the market as a result of the Silver Tsunami. The metro areas most affected in the Sunshine State are Tampa, Miami, and Orlando. These three Florida cities have anticipated rates of homes released to the market by seniors above 14%. Yet Tucson, Arizona, breaks up the Floridian monopoly of the top spots. Tucson has an estimated share of homes to be released to the market by seniors just above Orlando.

Additional metro areas that can expect an influx of homes on the market after the passing of elderly folks include Dayton, Pittsburgh, and Knoxville. And while Knoxville is the last to have a rate above 13.5%, it should be noted that Greensboro, North Carolina, Cleveland, Ohio, and Buffalo, New York also have significantly higher rates than most metro areas. Greensboro will likely see 13.3% of houses go on the market while both Cleveland and Buffalo can expect 13.2%. Ohio, like Florida, has more than one metro area where plenty of current-seniors’ homes will be put on the market. So, renters in Florida and Ohio may want to start saving up for 2027 when tons of houses are sure to swarm the market.

However, those who don’t end up finding a home they love in 2027 can wait ten more years to get more than double the choices.

Ten Years Later: Where the Silver Tsunami Strikes in 2037

Photo by Blake Wheeler on Unsplash

Just ten years after the start of the Silver Tsunami, available houses will have more than doubled in many metro areas. While you may predict that the Silver Tsunami will benefit the same places in 2037 as in 2027, it’s not 100% the case—aside from Tampa.

In 2037 as in 2027, Tampa, Florida reigns as the #1 metro area with the most houses available from the Silver Tsunami. Tampa’s available homes will increase from 15.2% in 2027 to 33.2% in 2037—an 18% change.

However, unlike Tampa, the number of homes on the market in Miami did not increase enough from 2027 to guarantee a second-place ranking again in 2037. In fact, purchasable homes in Tucson, Arizona are expected to surpass those in Miami by 2037. In 2027, 14.8% of homes are expected to be put on the market in Tucson. In 2037? Over thirty-two percent of homes will become available—an increase of 17.8% in just ten years. This is why Tucson ends up at #2 a decade after the initial Silver Tsunami wave. In 2037, Miami will drop to #3 with an increase in homes of just 16.7% from 2027.

Orlando continues being the fourth metro area with the biggest increase in homes in 2037, as does Dayton in fifth. However, Knoxville and Pittsburgh flip in rank from 2027 to 2037. Available homes in Knoxville will have risen to 30.8% (a 17.3% change from 2027) while Pittsburgh’s purchasable houses will reside at 30.2% (a 16.6% change). While Pittsburgh may have gone from #6 to #7 in the ranks, the metro area is still notable for being the last with an available housing rate of 30% or more in 2037.

Other interesting data trends include the disappearance of Buffalo, New York from the top ten in 2037 as well as Albuquerque, New Mexico’s sudden appearance. Buffalo’s available homes are only set to increase by 15.8%, earning it a rank of #12 while Albuquerque should increase by 16.9%, putting it in ninth place in 2037.

Yet, not every metro area is as lucky as the ones noted above when it comes to the Silver Tsunami.

Regions Rejected by the Silver Tsunami

A decade is more than enough time for the Silver Tsunami to make its way across the nation. Yet, by 2037, several metro areas in the U.S. aren’t anticipated to see much of a housing boom.

Viewing the map with BatchGeo’s heat view feature enabled, we see seven states with metro areas notably absent from any activity. These include Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa.

The heat view also makes it clear that aside from the single metro areas of Oregon (Portland) and Washington (Seattle), the Silver Tsunami pretty much skips the Northwest. Now, this doesn’t mean the children and grandchildren of baby boomers are hoarding their homes in this region. What it does mean is that there likely isn’t a huge population of older folks in these areas.

On the other hand, the entire East of the country (aside from the hole that is West Virginia) lights up like a firecracker via heat view. This means more baby boomers live in metro areas on the East Coast than the West and they’ll likely leave millions of houses on the market between 2027 and 2037.

So, you want to save big and buy a house in 2027 or 2037? Start planning now. Make an open house map or any other map today for free with BatchGeo.