With the economy continuing to recover, baby boomers are finally feeling confident enough to take action on their plan to purchase a retirement home. After delaying their decision due to the recession, the long-awaited influx of wealthy retirees is opening the doors for development in Sunbelt destinations. Today’s retirees are the first post-Vietnam era empty nesters, and they are blazing a new trail in every aspect of life. It’s no surprise that boomers wants and needs are revolutionizing the development industry.
Amenities and Social Events:
Healthier and wealthier, America’s baby boomers want amenities that fit their active lifestyle. They are focused on their wellbeing and the origins of their food through community gardens, farmer’s markets and farm-to-table dining. They are active in Pilates, yoga, meditation, hiking and cycling. Four-legged family members have become cherished companions and dog parks are often the social centerpieces of their world. Communities that are rich with a variety of low-cost outdoor amenities and social interaction are leading the way. Golf is now a monthly outing rather than the twice-weekly ritual of the previous generation.
Walkablility and Location:
Boomers are on the move. They crave experiences and new adventures. They want an area with great restaurants, culture, and entertainment, within easy reach. Boomers have spent most of their lives in cars and now want the convenience of location and walkable neighborhoods where they can enjoy an evening without having to designate a driver. Their childhood destinations were the grocery store down the street or an ice cream shop on the corner. Now, it’s a health-food store down the street and a hip coffee house with Wi-Fi on the corner.
Boomers are connected. They have iPhones and iPads, and they make their way around the Internet with ease. Boomers are tech savvy, and they do their homework when searching for a new home. Social media, consumer reviews, and YouTube will tell them if a particular community is the right fit. Developers must recognize the importance of today’s “word of mouth” platform. Social marketing strategies combined with pay per click advertising and hyper-targeted page post engagements can reach prospective buyers and help them take the first step in buying a home.
According to Nielsen’s Demand Institute, more than 40% of Americans ages 50 to 64 plans to move within the next five years. As homebuilders continue to prepare for the future, it is important to anticipate the evolving trends of the baby boomers and generation X as well as understand their impact on residential real estate.