Young adults ages 22 to 30—those “Millennials” who are a target demographic for many of the new apartment properties hitting the market—are likely to be in their first or second post-college home away from their parents. But it’s becoming more and more possible that their next-door neighbors could be their parents … or at least people their parents’ age.

That empty-nesters whose children have grown up and gone to college or work are downsizing by selling their suburban homes and moving into apartments is old news; the magnitude of this trend is what’s surprising developers.

Todd Thomas of Dallas-based developer Encore Multi-Family told the audience at a recent Interface Multifamily Texas conference that he never thought about empty-nest Baby Boomers wanting to rent at a new Uptown Dallas property. That is, until they started showing up to pre-lease units.

With that experience at front of mind, he told attendees, “With the empty-nesters renting, doing a deal with just a few twos [two-bedroom units] would be suicide.”

Subsequent panelists and other apartment industry experts said future projects will likely have a unit mix that includes more two-bedroom and three-bedroom units to attract renters ages 55 and older.

Many of these Boomers are moving to urban-core properties that are sprouting up nationwide. Tired of having to mow the lawn every week or repair the roof every year, they sell their house and move closer to the action. Like Millennials, empty-nesters might move to be closer to work and good restaurants, cultural centers, and downtown parks.

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