What Kind of Homes do the Boomers Want?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with The MG Group

The Baby Boomers represent the largest generation in the United States. It’s little surprise, then, that homebuilders are especially interested in what Boomers want when it comes to housing.

Today, at least according to an interesting story in the Chicago Tribune, Boomers want simple, maintenance-free homes. But they absolutely do not want anything that reminds them of how old they are getting.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are about 76 million Baby Boomers in the United States, all born between the years 1946 and 1964.

Even though these Boomers are getting older – even they can’t stop the aging process! -- they’re not necessarily happy about this fact. So they don’t want their homes to scream out anything that suggests they were built for aging residents. The Tribune story quotes one Chicago-area architect and builder who says that his firm doesn't include anything in Boomer-targeted homes that even suggests handicapped accessibility. This, of course, means no grab bars in the bathrooms, and no hallways and doorways obviously built for wheelchair access.

However, Boomers aren’t totally oblivious to their advancing age. According to research by the National Association of Home Builders, Boomers do prefer single-level homes. They also want homes that require as little maintenance as possible, and are especially focused on quality.

These are qualities that you’d find in homes built for aging residents. But they’re also qualities that you’d hope to find in any well-built home today.

Many of Chicago’s top neighborhoods, places like Lincoln Park, Lakeview, River North, Streeterville and others are perfect for Boomers. There are plenty of low-maintenance condominiums in these neighborhoods. And Boomers will be living next to a wealth of entertainment, dining and shopping options if they choose any of these neighborhoods. The housing slump, of course, has slowed the construction of new homes in Chicago to less than a trickle. But once the industry begins its inevitable recovery, builders will be flocking to put up homes that appeal to Baby Boomers. The Boomers have already had an incredible impact on the housing industry. Once the home-selling business begins its rebound, you can bet that Boomers again will change the way that new homes are built.