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.
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.
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®