shares

Understanding the Differences Between Older and Younger Baby Boomer Home Buyers

Like most people, baby boomers are anxious about how the current economy will impact their later years—and their living arrangements during that time.

But while the oldest members of this 79-million-strong generation have just reached the traditional retirement age of 65, the youngest members skew as young as 47.

With a nearly 20-year age difference among those making up the ‘bookends’ of the group, and because boomers have been driving trends for decades, Coldwell Banker Real Estate recently enacted a survey of 1,300 agents to gain a unique understanding of the home-buying differences between older and younger boomers.

The results revealed a dynamic picture of the real estate market. While 87 percent of the agents and brokers polled agreed that the economy has delayed boomers’ plans to sell their homes, the survey revealed a clear division between the types of homes older boomers want and those that younger boomers desire.

Younger boomers (ages 47 to 55) are in their prime earning years, with strong lifestyle implications that impact their housing decisions. They may be moving for a job, perhaps making an investment on a second home, or downsizing as empty nesters.

Older boomers (ages 56 to 65), on the other hand, are either moving into or beginning to think about their retirement years, and they’re seemingly focused on smaller homes with simpler lifestyles near their children and/or lifelong passions.

Here are some additional findings on the home buying differences between older and younger baby boomers:

Purchasing second homes?

Younger boomers: More than one-third of agents (34 percent) say younger boomers are interested in purchasing a second home.

Older boomers: Just 22 percent of agents say older boomers are interested in purchasing a second home.

Shopping for larger homes?

Younger boomers: 31 percent of respondents said that their younger boomer clients are selling their current homes and looking for larger homes.

Older boomers: Only six percent of agents reported that older boomers are selling their existing homes for larger ones.

Looking to downsize? (and the reason behind a downsize)

Younger boomers: 52 percent of respondents said younger boomers are more likely to want to downsize, and 49 percent of agents reported the primary reason as the desire for a simpler lifestyle.

Older boomers: While 80 percent of agents reported that older boomers are more likely to want to downsize, 28 percent of respondents said saving money is behind older boomers’ desire to downsize.

Searching for a single family home?

Younger boomers: 82 percent of agents reported that younger boomers are much more likely to prefer a single family home.

Older boomers: Just 47 percent of agents agree that older boomers are much more likely to prefer a single family home. Agents reported that about half (47 percent) are looking for a townhome or condo; and 27 percent said their older boomer clients prefer an active adult community.

Guest blogger Lindsay Listanski is the social media manager for Coldwell Banker Real Estate, a leader in full service real estate sales.