Bobbi and Jack Segel have adored their enormous Victorian home in Highland Park, Ill. for nearly two decades, but it seems so quiet there now. Too quiet.
“This is a huge house. I don’t have kids running out any more. The dogs are gone,” said Bobbi with a nostalgic laugh.
Classic empty-nesters, the Segels are heading to Chicago, opting for more action rather than so-called “active adult” communities that builders have created out in many suburbs.
“Here at 9 o’clock at night, you’re looking for a restaurant, you can’t find one. The city is one o’clock, two o’clock in the morning; people are walking around. It’s exciting,” Bobbi said.
It is a growing trend among Baby Boomers, defined by the U.S. Census as those born between 1946 and 1964. Many of them are putting their big suburban homes on the market again, after waiting out the housing crash.
Home prices in urban areas did not fall as hard as those in the suburbs, according to John McLain of the Urban Land Institute, and they are recovering far faster. Boomers, whose retirement savings took a hit during the recession, are now more leery of home values and less willing to risk losing again.
“They want to buy something that’s secure, and it’s been pretty well demonstrated that suburban housing is not as secure an asset as anyone thought it was or that it used to be,” McClain said.
Boomers are also looking for walkability, proximity to public transit and diversity. They also want to be closer to their children, who generally head to cities right after college. This is a big change from their parents, who often headed to warmer areas to retire.
Are you a retired and planning on moving? If so, where are you looking to relocate – the city or the suburbs?