Real Estate Round-up
Talkin' about my generation: Business booming for boomer projects
The Who rocked the Super Bowl halftime show. Some reviewers questioned the current state of their singing voices, but I admired Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend. They generated a lot of high-voltage energy for a couple of geezers in their mid-60s.
The Who’s musicians are a lot like most boomer generation folks. They plan to keep on working no matter how old they get, according to a survey by Del Webb, one of the world’s biggest builders of housing for mature adults.
The attitudes and tastes of boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) have a big bearing on the housing market. Boomers are a giant lump in American demographics. The new Del Webb survey of boomers shows that 18 percent of employed 64-year-olds say they will NEVER retire. No wonder home builders are including so many home offices in today’s floor plans.
It just so happens that rock music is not a bad marketing theme for builders who target the Boomer generation. Next weekend, a sales promotion at Village of Tuscan Lakes will have a “Rock of the '60s” event with a rock ‘n' roll band and hippie costuming. The advertising for the event has hip graphics resonating from the Peter Max era.
Village at Tuscan Lakes is one of the “55-plus” communities that restricts home ownership to people who are 55 or older.
Village at Tuscan Lakes, located near the intersection of Texas 96 and Highway 3 in League City, is a gated community. The project, which will have 300 homes on completion, is developed by Centex Homes, a sister company of Del Webb.
The project’s 12,000-square-foot community center, where the “Rock in the ‘60s” event will be held, is typical of the “heavy amenity package” developers put into the 55-plus communities. Note: Homes at Village of Tuscan are priced from $180,000 and up — in other words, affordable.
Del Webb has been developing these boomer projects for 40 years using the Sun City brand name, and the company believes the demographics are tilted in their favor for good profit in the years ahead since there are 78 million boomers in America today.
What do Boomer Buyers Want?
Economics is a big motivator for today’s boomers. Wanting to downsize – get a more affordable home – is a prevalent concern. That can mean relocating to cities where housing is more reasonably priced.
In Del Webb’s first Boomer survey in 1996, people prioritzed retiring in a warm, sunny climate. Today, the practical, financial side is the biggest concern and cheap places like North and South Carolina are gaining popularity with boomers. It’s all about money, which is not surprising considering the state of the nation’s economy.
The cost of housing and the affordability of every day living is the No. 1 concern for boomers considering relocating as they mature, the survey showed. “Cost of living is tops,” says Caryn Klebba, spokeswoman for Del Webb. “And boomers plan to continue to work.”
More than 72 percent of boomers say they will keep working and having a job is going to be part of their lives for years to come. Some want to work to keep from being bored or to gain self-satisfaction, but financial need is the main common reason.
Shrinking 401k's and regrets about wild spending excesses in the past also appear to be weighing heavy on the minds of boomers.
“Today’s 50-year-olds believe they need to save more,” Klebba says.
The financial obsession is not bad news for Del Webb and other builders that cater to the boomer niche. One-third of the boomers surveyed said they plan to move during their retirement years. And the survey showed that of the boomers who do plan to move, age-restricted communities are favored by a 10-to-1 margin.
After all, who wants a kid’s tricycle in your driveway when you back out in the morning? Wouldn’t you rather have The Who as your next-door neighbors?
Ralph Bivins, former president of the National Association of Real Estate Editors, is editor-in-chief of RealtyNewsReport.com.