How about this for a stunner: each and every day for the next 17 years, more than 10,000 American “baby boomers” will hit retirement age. That is based on 65 being considered retirement age (although many 65-year-olds I know haven’t the slightest intention of abandoning their careers anytime soon). Nevertheless, the impact that this demographic wave will have on everybody is bound to be substantial.
In the housing industry, even seniors who are anything but retired will be gravitating toward newer, smaller homes that better fit the lifestyle of adults whose children are now out on their own. So some fine-tuning of property listings will be in order. I expect more local property listings to start emphasizing smaller footprints and some other basics that reflect some of those changing lifestyle priorities.
Cost of living factors can be expected to replace good employment opportunities as a leading geographical consideration. Since most retirees will find themselves shifting to a fixed or limited income, property listings may start to include their area’s score on the National Cost of Living Index. The NCLI is based on an average of 100: cities with a cost of living index of 80 to 90 are usually considered favorable for retirees. We can expect more local property listings to highlight it.
Weather and seasonal factors should take new prominence. There is a good reason why previous generations of retirees chose homes located in the western Sunbelt states and the southeastern region. Many retirees prefer warm weather and temperate climates. There are physical and medical advantages – not to mention added months of golf, tennis and beach going!
Proximity to family members is the one perpetual consideration that won’t be changing anytime soon. Grandparents cannot fully dote if the kids are all the way across the country. Yet indicators have been growing that their more mobile mindset has at least some seniors compromising in this regard: property listings that note major airports close by are growing in number. (Call it ‘portable doting.’)
In the end, the choice of a new home that fits anyone’s later years is largely a matter of what you and your spouse want out of the freedom of your latter years. For clients who are selling, it’s a basic part of my service to know how to create local property listings that emphasize the features currently rate highest with prospective buyers – baby boomers or not!