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Small Spaces: Baby-Boomer Trends

Christine Brun on

Still a large part of the American home-buying public, baby boomers drive a significant segment of the housing development industry. What do boomers want, and what are they willing to spend to get it? The generation is nearly as large as that of their millennial children and as diverse in lifestyle choices.

According to statistics, many baby boomers may not be able to retire at 65. There are numerous reasons, from never recovering from the 2007-2009 Great Recession, to struggling with outrageous college tuitions, to losing a job. Others could retire in the traditional way but are looking at their senior years from a fresh perspective. They are choosing encore careers or staying in their profession part-time. This unique view of retirement creates a need for new housing and community models.

Some $8 trillion, or almost two-thirds of the nation's home equity, is held by the 74.9 million people who comprise the baby-boom generation. According to TRI Pointe Group, a network of regional homebuilders, 50 percent of these home shoppers over the age of 55 would consider living in an age-restricted community, but research shows that 53 percent of them cannot find the kind of gripping and vital community they desire.

Obviously, some people become frustrated by the search for a new home and opt to stay put and remodel. If you've ever lived through a major remodel, you appreciate the serious amount of work that goes into it! What discourages some from embracing a remodel is the quantity of unknowns. Facing a detailed project may not be comfortable for a lot of older Americans; they might prefer to shop in new communities where they can see, feel and experience the completed house instead.

Across the nation you will find homebuilders who are developing within a half-hour of major urban areas. On the East Coast is the Winchester Homes 55-plus neighborhood within the all-age master plan of Two Rivers in Odenton, Maryland. It offers 168 Craftsman-style homes close to Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Annapolis, Maryland. The homes offer low-maintenance living while providing loads of private outdoor living spaces with patios and balconies. Residents enjoy the main level owner's suite and everyday living on the main floor. An upstairs loft with basements and an optional elevator is available. The cozy kitchen and open dining/living room are shown here.

Out west in Santa Clarita, California, about 35 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, we find another development called Skyline Ranch by Pardee Homes. It is optimized for boomers and situated within an all-age community encompassing 492 acres and 1,220 home sites. The location offers access to employment in the nearby San Fernando Valley and the entire Los Angeles basin. This community features multiple recreations centers and miles of hiking and biking trails. The first home deliveries are expected in 2019.

Some 25 miles from downtown Phoenix, Maracay Homes offers a neighborhood called Victory at Verrado. Thoughtful architectural elements include Flex Design options, such as a guest suite for visitors or an income-producing space. Community amenities include a Life Performance Training Center, a yoga lawn, a lap pool, movement studios and three resort-style pools. There is a trail system for all fitness levels, as well as freeway access to community employment centers, shopping, dining and entertainment.

 

"This group has waited their entire lives to be in the position they are now in, where amenities and lifestyle opportunities in a close in location near family and employment are key to a full and enriching life," said Tom Mitchell, president and COO of TRI Pointe Group.

Photo Credit: Maxine Schnitzer Photography

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Christine Brun, ASID, is a San Diego based interior designer and author of "Small Space Living." Send questions and comments to her by email at christinebrun@sbcglobal.net. To find out more about Christine Brun and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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