Baby Boomers are about to explode in numbers into the retiring population, changing the face of aging in the United States. Active Baby Boomers are generally 47-54 and still in the workforce. Older Baby Boomers (56-64) are either retiring early or preparing for retirement. According to an article on Realtor.com, “The Boomer Effect” by author John Van Gieson, statistics forecast 10,000 Baby Boomers a day will retire in the next 20 years. This sets the stage for the doubling of the aging population in the decades to come. Because of the implosion this will create on the American economy and Social Security and Medicare, this aging Boomer population has been dubbed the ‘silver tsunami.’
At the same time this population ages, life expectancy is extended for this group largely because of medical technology. This combination of factors sets the stage for a very particular group with specific housing needs pre and post retirement.
Though some Boomers may have lost property and jobs during the recession, many held onto their homes and kept equity in their homes. The financially secure Baby Boomers are ready to make a move or an investment. As the real estate market continues to repair from the great recession, some of these Boomers are considering a move now. This may involve downsizing from a large family home to a property with no exterior maintenance. Meanwhile, many Active Boomers, looking onward towards retirement, desire second homes and investment properties.
What geographic areas in the U.S. will the silver tsunami prefer?
Some Boomers may purchase property in Florida. But Florida will no longer be the mecca for retired homeowners, as it was for many years. Current trends indicate this generation of Boomers will tend to purchase properties in the Mid-South region in places like Virginia, the Carolinas and Tennessee.
Virginia Homes for Sale Desirable for Boomers
According to the U.S. Census, population across the state of Virginia grew 3.2% between 2010 and 2013. In my own geographic region, Williamsburg and James City County, population increased 5.2% during the same time period. Williamsburg, James City and York Counties have always been popular retirement locations, and as statistics indicate – this trend will continue. The historic triangle is a popular place in Virginia to purchase a home because the region is family oriented, rich in history, and has ample dining and entertainment opportunities, with easy access to larger urban areas such as Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk and Richmond.
Virginia Recommended for Retirement by Marketwatch.com
In 2013, a writer from Marketwatch.com, a savvy online financial publication, recommended locations across the Commonwealth of Virginia as ideal for retirement. Locations included: Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, Roanoke, Winchester and Charlottesville. Virginia’s low(er) property tax rates compared to Northeastern states, its central location in the Mid-South (making it convenient to Northern cities and states) and its mild climate with four seasons were cited as reasons for retiring here.
Current trends in purchasing real estate for the Baby Boomers: Aging in Place
The aging in place lifestyle is a desirable one for many, especially those who do not wish to end up in retirement communities, but would rather be in their own home while they age. For the Boomer who wants to age in place, selecting the right property will allow this person this choice, without moving. First floor dwellings with attached garages as well as no exterior maintenance of a property are some characteristics of a residence where one may easily age in place. Boomers are also looking for homes convenient to shopping, doctors, children and grandchildren.
How are Boomers’ Housing Needs Defined?
Often a Boomer’s housing needs close to or nearing retirement will shift. Many will require less space than the family home once provided, – perhaps considering a 1,000-2,000 square feet home rather than 3,000-4,000. Preference will be given to homes with easy entrance and exits on the first floor with none – or very few – steps.
For the Boomer wanting to purchase a second home intended as a retirement property for a full time residence at a later date, the same parameters may apply. A desirable location in a quiet area with low property taxes (maybe even out-of-state) will be the most likely impetus for a move for many Boomers.
As the Baby Boomers mature and become the ‘silver tsunami,’ expected lifespans are lengthening, too. So, if a Boomer retires at 60 or 65, he or she may enjoy another 15 to 20 years of independence, provided good health prevails. Choosing the right housing for retirement is an important decision that will potentially impact a Boomer for decades to come and should be thought out carefully. Rely on a professional REALTOR to help make the right choice in purchasing a home for retirement.