What Baby Boomers Want

Survey results sheds light on the type of housing boomers will seek for retirement.

August 1, 2005

As baby boomers close in on retirement, they’re thinking more about where they’d like to settle down for the next phase of life. And real estate practitioners want to know what’s on their mind. After all, at 77 million strong and making up one of the wealthiest generations in history, baby boomers’ decisions will have big implications for the real estate industry.

The just-released results of the 2005 Del Webb Baby Boomer Survey shows this highly targeted segment wants housing that will allow them to enjoy an active retirement and spend quality time with the ones they love.

Approximately 59 percent of “younger” boomers ages 41 to 49, and 50 percent of “older” boomers ages 50-59, plan to purchase new homes for their retirement, where they can have lifestyles that allow them to remain physically fit and socially active. For some, remaining active also may include working beyond “retirement” age.

Nearly half—47 percent—say they wouldn’t want to move more than three hours away from their families during retirement. Otherwise, weather is the most important consideration in where they’ll live: the most popular destinations named were Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, California, and Texas, respectively.

The study, conducted by market research firm Harris Interactive Inc. on behalf of homebuilder Pulte Homes Inc.’s Del Webb brand, indicates that the top reasons boomers would leave their state for retirement is more affordable housing, better community lifestyle, warmer climate, and to be closer to family.

When asked about retirement lifestyle, travel topped the list of things retirees want to do most. Other interests are spending time with loved ones, exercising, volunteering, taking up a hobby, acquiring new skills, taking classes, and going back to school. Top concerns were not being healthy enough or having enough money to be comfortable.

Most boomers say they’re likely to downsize or remain in the same-size home when they repurchase. Laundry rooms and Internet access are their most-desired housing features. More than 95 percent of boomers use e-mail, according to the study, and they enjoy Internet research, shopping, and banking.

Many respondents said they would want more than one bedroom so they can use it as a guest room or an office. Many respondents also said they intend to continue working even though they don’t have to because they enjoy it and want to remain mentally active.

Del Webb has conducted the survey annually since 1996 to gauge boomers’ opinions of the issues they will be facing in the near future, their thoughts on active adult communities, home features, lifestyle, dating, friendships, and more. The full survey results are available online.

(c) Copyright 2005 Realty Times. Reprinted with permission.

Blanche Evans is a writer/editor and CEO of evansEmedia. Formerly, she was a senior editor with Realty Times, where she was named by REALTOR® Magazine as one of the most influential people in the real estate industry.

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