What impact will Baby Boomer retirement lifestyle decisions have on the physical makeup of cities, government policies and the building industry? Plenty!
My earlier blog ,What do we really want, makes it pretty clear that we are a very diverse groups with some very specific needs. These needs lead to 5 Real Estate Trends that will shape our decision as to where we actually settle. Once we have located our new address, we are definite about the 11 Must Haves in our Baby Boomer Home.
As social entrepreneur Marc Freedman says, “The reality is that the end of middle age is no longer, for most people, attached to the beginning of either retirement or old age. We’re in the early stages of a great migration…across time and the life course, as tens of millions (8,000 Baby Boomers turn 60 every day) reach the spot where middle age used to end and old age once began.
With these kinds of numbers there can be no doubt that there will be a major reset on how new housing developments are planned, the amenities that will be required to be part of them and the actual spatial and physical requirements of individual homes in order to meet Baby Boomers Housing needs.
Here are some solutions that will address Baby Boomer needs:
- A larger diversity in housing initiatives to reflect the range of needs that the Boomer demographic encompasses. In other words one floor living with our 11 must haves in various sizes, located near facilities and amenities needed for a retirement lifestyle. This means changes in urban planning policies.
- Government must consider both the “early” boomer who is in good health and wishes to remain so, as well as providing health care for boomers who want to age in place as well as those of us with chronic or long term health issues who will require more medical and other kinds of assistance. Obviously this will require a more holistic approach to policies of health care and recreational planning.
- Governments will also need to ensure a mix of low rise and medium density housing with good transit options and safe and well lit communities. The 5 real estate trends make it pretty clear that as baby boomers we want our communities to be welcoming and friendly spaces where we can walk and live, not concrete boxes walled off from the rest of the world, accessible only by cars. Again this will require an integration of policy planning in a variety of areas.
- Down-sizing” should really be interpreted as “right-sizing”. Builders in general and condo builders in particular need to review their unit designs if they want to attract this lucrative segment. With the average size of condo units declining in the past three years, many boomers are not considering high rise condos as viable alternatives.