New trends are emerging for older homeowners that could change the market for Realtors® as they work with these buyers.
Jessica Lautz, research director, demographics and behavioral insights, for the National Association of Realtors®, said it’s become more common for older homeowners to own a second home.
Many older homeowners are wealthier than in the past and are more likely to own a second home. “Our research shows that 1 in 5 homeowners own a second home,” Lautz said.
“We’re also seeing that as people retire, they’re not downsizing in space like they used to,” she said. “Homeowners used to look at homes that were 500 to 600 square feet smaller than the home they were living in. Now they’re looking at properties just about 100 square feet smaller.”
“Many baby boomer homeowners are making plans to have a multigenerational home, whether to accommodate aging parents or their children,” she continued. “Some are holding onto their property as they purchase something else, planning to rent their previous home or allow family members to move into it.”
A recent study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University shows that the U.S. is ill-equipped to provide adequate housing for the aging population.
“There’s really a lack of appropriate inventory for those who want to age in place,” Lautz said. “There are more people over age 50 living in households and it includes someone who had difficulty climbing stairs or walking.”
The Joint Center report said that recent estimates show that only 3.5 percent of U.S. homes had the three key features for those with mobility challenges: single-floor living, no-step entries and extra-wide halls and doors.
The research is also showing that many older buyers are investing in smart home and green features. “Millennial buyers may want those features, but they’re more costly and they aren’t always able to afford them,” she added.