NEW YORK – Oct. 27, 2011 – According to a new poll from the Associated Press (AP) and LifeGoesStrong.com, 73 percent of baby boomers would rather live close to children or family rather than “friends of your own age,” and 50 percent ranked nearby family as “deeply important.”
However 27 percent prefer to live near peers, a huge potential market niche.
About a quarter (23 percent) of boomers say it’s very likely they’ll move out of their current area or community in retirement. However, that doesn’t mean boomers imagine that their retirement home will be their last purchase. Only 40 percent of boomers expect to stay in the home permanently.
“It’s easy to understand why mid-lifers are interested in being near family and staying close to home during retirement,” said Barbara Corcoran, a prominent real estate entrepreneur. “It’s also important to note that most boomers currently live in a suburb, and that group is more likely to have lost money on real estate since the economic downturn began. But whether or not someone was directly impacted, the recession makes all of us more aware of the importance and comfort of a close family circle, and the value of strong home roots.”
Even so, three in 10 boomers say that there is at least somewhat of a chance that they will purchase a new home for their retirement years. While 67 percent consider it unlikely that they’ll leave their home state if they do, 13 percent say there is a good chance they’ll move across state lines.
In addition to family, 39 percent of boomers rated “being close to medical offices or hospitals” as very important, and a similar number, 38 percent, want to be “close to shops and services.”
Boomers who plan to move noted the following preferences:
• smaller home (43%)
• area with a different climate (30%)
• more affordable home (25%)
• closer to family (15%)
• in a retirement community (12%)
When marketing to boomers, it’s worth noting that three out of the top five reasons given have nothing to do with the home itself and more to do with weather, family proximity, and community elements.
The survey asked boomers what they did with the empty bedrooms vacated by children to gauge their housing desires. While 51 percent did not change the bedrooms, those who did created:
• guest bedrooms (58%)
• home offices (39%)
• craft rooms (28%)
• entertainment rooms (15%)
Younger boomer parents are more likely to have repurposed their children’s rooms. Among those boomer parents born from 1955 to 1964, 57 percent say they converted the room to other uses; just 40 percent of boomer parents born in 1954 or earlier say the same.