Boomers Keep Bucking (Housing) Trends

Real Estate Broker/Owner with ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors

Contrarian Boomers Are Forcing Us to Re-Think Housing Choices

Fannie Mae released a study this year that forces us to re-think how we work with Baby Boomers. With 10,000 Boomers reaching retirement age every day, the impact on society, our economy, and the housing market is significant.


Hippie Bus


That generation, born between 1946 and 1964, was notorious for rejecting societal norms and setting its own trends. It should come as no surprise that early predictions of empty-nesters abandoning the single family home for condos and smaller townhomes have not come true. Always the contrarians, Boomers are again choosing to “go their own way”.



The Fannie Mae study showed that, instead of downsizing, many Boomers are choosing to stay in single-family houses - that number increasing between 2006 and 2012. Part of that statistic comes from Boomers moving 2% less during that period – choosing to stay in the family home.

Boomers in Clark County WA - Setting Their Own Trends 

Certainly, some Boomers went through the downsizing phase, but then realized that smaller homes - no matter how nicely finished - could not accommodate their lifestyle. Many of our clients are now looking for larger homes – mostly to handle their extended family of kids, grandkids, and friends who come to stay with them.  They want larger kitchens and family rooms – adequate space for social gatherings.  They also want extra rooms for work spaces – some for their hobbies, others to continue working in some capacity beyond retirement age.

Boomer Running


Boomer Stretching

Multi-unit dwellings are not the answer, either - their popularity with older residents has dropped steadily this past decade. With an active lifestyle, Boomers are experiencing 33% more sports injury than their previous generation. While knee and hip replacements are adding years to an active lifestyle, these also lead to the demand for single-level living or at least master on the main. 

In Clark County, two-level homes are still selling if they have a master on the main – the upstairs bedrooms designated for family, visitors, and offices.As noted here in previous blogs, another driving force in Boomer housing is the desire for multi-generational living – one home that accommodates live-in parents or children.  We have seen the formula work both ways – Boomers looking for living quarters for their aging parents, and younger families looking for space for their Boomer parents. 

If you are looking for single-level living, but with room to accommodate your extended family – or a multi-generational household -  call us.   We have been through these transitions ourselves, and have the experience to help you "go your own way".

Co-Author: Bernie Stea, JD, Senior Real Estate Specialist®

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ViewHomes™ grew out of our passion for nature, beautiful surroundings, and peaceful environments. Starting together in an urban environment, over the years we've gravitated towards areas with smaller populations and less density. We now enjoy our lifestyle in a rural environment, but with close proximity to metropolitan areas where we appreciate all the amenities of fine restaurants, shopping, and an easy drive to an international airport.
Living in ViewHomes™ is like having “elbowroom for the soul”.






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Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Debb - We're seeing the same thing here with our boomers' preferences, but we're still waiting for the home builders to get the message and start building what older buyers are looking for.

Oct 28, 2014 06:18 AM #10
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

Very interesting and not at all surprising.  We "downsized" (relatively speaking) 3 years ago, not because we are anywhere near retirement age, but because we found the perfect house with a master on the main, which allows us the option to stay in place for many, many years to come.

Oct 28, 2014 07:10 AM #11
Fred Griffin, on leave of absence from ActiveRain
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

    I was born right in the middle of the Baby Boom.  Yes, I "go my own way".  Always have, and always will!

Oct 28, 2014 09:54 AM #12
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Debb, the trend at the moment is not downsizing. Enjoy your day!

Oct 28, 2014 10:41 AM #13
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Debb Janes I do recall the forecast was for downsizing too. We have not seen a big shift to condos  her either. Multigeneration living is on the upswing and maybe that has something to do with it.

Oct 28, 2014 11:38 AM #14
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Hey all, I have read each of your thoughtful comments and will be visiting - right now our Alaska Family is in town and I'm working as little as possible and trying to spend as much time with them as I can. Inspection to attend a bit later and the local "Boo Bash!"

Oct 29, 2014 04:11 AM #15
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This topic could become a series for you. Dolores and I should also be out looking for a single level home.

Oct 29, 2014 05:47 AM #16
Brad Rachielles
CENTURY 21 Peak, Ca BRE# 01489453 - Upland, CA

Hi Debb,

Clearly not all boomers want to downsize as they worked hard to have what they are living in. The key may be to think of reformatting their housing needs to suit their physical needs rather than downsizing. Three or four bedroom homes with the three car garage and upscale amenities can certainly be found in single story homes that prevent the stair climbing. Hopefully the builders reading this get the message as this leading edge boomer ("46") certainly will be shunning the staircases some day.

Oct 29, 2014 06:00 AM #17
Brad Rachielles
CENTURY 21 Peak, Ca BRE# 01489453 - Upland, CA

PS - Wonder who will have more fun at the "Boo-Bash"..... you or the visiting kids???? 

Oct 29, 2014 06:04 AM #18
Robert Bob Gilbert
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties - Katy, TX
Your Katy TX ( West of Houston) Real Estate Expert

Debb, Well I admit I am a boomer and Boomers take pride in marching to their own tune! None of this surprises me at all. We talked about down sizing but right we are thinking major renovation of your home! Condo no way! A one story home is a posibility but it will have to be big enough for my wife! Thanks for the blog. good stuff! 

Oct 29, 2014 06:24 AM #19
Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

What a great post, Debb! Being a boomer myself, I'm very inclined to go my own way... I've been in a condo for  a little over 10 years now. I was fortunate after divorce that I could buy a unit for less monthly cost than I was renting. Yet I would like more space again. For me, I think I want to be in an older small downtown location and buy a commercial space with living quarters above. I love rural and country, but really, my life happens being around alot of people in a town setting. 

Oct 29, 2014 09:53 AM #20
Kathy Smiley
Rodeo Realty ~ Fine Estates Westlake Village - Westlake Village, CA
Westlake Village, CA - "Making YOU Smile!"

Debb - what a delightful reading! You and your co author reported in everyday language what a lengthy study took a gillion words to say! I agree, the ideas we had a few years ago of where the babyboomer gen would end up are already outdated. It will be interesting to see what transpires as more of "us" babyboomers make tranistions!

Oct 29, 2014 01:56 PM #21
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Debb, I am finding more boomers are asking for patio homes, and they are not quite ready for attached living.   They still want the independence of a single family home, but no yard work!   I can relate! 

Oct 30, 2014 04:01 AM #22
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

I was at an inspection, the Boo Bash, and with visiting family. Promise I'll be catching up with you all very, very soon. 

Oct 30, 2014 05:12 AM #23
Noah Seidenberg
Coldwell Banker - Evanston, IL
Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917

Interesting reporting Debb. I hear some people of the Baby Boomer generation asking for elevator condos or Ranch style homes.

Oct 30, 2014 10:37 AM #24
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Debb, not surprised at all by the one-level living choice being made frequently. Out here, we don't have many of those, but I get asked about it often. Ranch style is something that I tell clients works for everyone, "families with little kids, older people with bad knees"--I also tell them that you have a wider group of people to cater to with a one level home. 

Oct 31, 2014 12:34 AM #25
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Noah, I imagine that would be the case for the those planning for the future. What is most interesting to me, the size of the homes many of us (boomers) want in our forever house - lots of rooms.

Hi Gayle - it's more the larger size that surprises me - the master on the main desire is one that has been around for a while.  Bernie and I have discovered that our next house will be an up-size too. We are all working in our later years -  therefore, the need for home offices. And, we have kids, grand kids, and friends who visit often - therefore, the need for multiple bedrooms. 

Oct 31, 2014 01:28 AM #26
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Debb -- excellent analysis and you're spot on when it comes to the need for a first floor master suite(perhaps in addition to one on the upper level) by boomers and other buyers too.  

Oct 31, 2014 02:32 AM #27
Jack Tenold
Jack Tenold LLC - Spokane, WA
Specializing in Reverse Mortgages

Hi Debb - Good information in your post.  Boomers who seek to "right-size" to a one-story home with less upkeep have lots of choices here in Spokane.  Many are doing it with a reverse mortgage purchase.  Currently there are no income or credit requirements but changes are coming.    Jack 

Nov 02, 2014 02:44 AM #28
Keller Williams Select Realtors-Buy a home in Washington DC. Sell a home in Washington DC - Bowie, MD
I don't make promises.I deliver results.SOLD HOMES

Debb give me a Baby Boomer client over Millennials,Generation X and Y clients any day of the week. They have great credit,cash and know what they want. What else can you ask for?

Nov 29, 2014 02:36 PM #29
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REALTORS® in Clark County, WA
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