Upcoming Retirees Aren’t Looking to Downsize

May 2, 2019

PulteGroup dining room

PulteGroup

A recent survey found that buyers in their 50s are looking for more space, preferring homes with features such as a dining room.

All the buzz about retirees downsizing and putting down roots in urban areas may be overrated. After all, neither practice is all that popular among millennials, who are usually the trendsetters.

After years of surveying active adults aged 55 and older, Del Webb, a builder of active-adult communities owned by the Atlanta-based PulteGroup, conducted a survey that considers responses of both older Gen Xers and younger baby boomers for the first time. Released in April, the results reveal that men and women aged 49-61 actually want many of the same characteristics in housing as millennials. Both groups said they want to move to a house that’s the same size or larger than their current home, which ideally would include three or more bedrooms. In addition, almost one-third of the Gen X respondents said they would design their next home to accommodate their aging parents.

Contrary to many projections, about 87 percent of boomers and Gen Xers don’t plan to make a beeline for urban downtowns, instead choosing a suburban or rural setting where they can slow down and enjoy some peace and tranquility. “Data from our most recent survey clearly indicates that true urban living appeals to only a limited number of future retirees,” says Jay Mason, vice president of market intelligence for PulteGroup. “Both Gen Xers and baby boomers nearing retirement are looking for a different quality of life when considering their next move.”

While most survey respondents still prefer open floor plans like their millennial counterparts, the Gen Xers and baby boomers share a possible change in mindset. After years of seeking wide-open spaces, about 34 percent of both groups said they now seek some defined spaces for a better balance. That includes a dedicated dining room, a preference of 60 percent of Gen Xers and 48 percent of boomers.