Written by Phoebe Chongchua
Perhaps it’s no surprise that housing design trends are catering to baby boomers. This is, after all, a huge demographic. Nationwide areas, such as California, are favoring practical designs that aim to serve the baby boomer population.
The National Association of Home Builders says this generation is the largest (76 million) and is looking to postpone or even skip the retirement home and instead find homes that meet their needs continuously as they age. This demographic (those born between the years 1946 and 1964) is also healthier and more active than previous generations. That makes this group want housing that’s technologically sophisticated and also offers plenty of other options.
What are the top priorities? Smaller and more efficiently designed homes that are closer to work and entertainment centers. A term we’re hearing a lot, “multiple generational housing”, is also top of mind when designing for baby boomers. These are homes where many generations of the same family will live together yet have private areas as well as combined living space under one roof. This type of housing makes sense for many reasons. Of course, one is economics but also the ability to care for aging baby boomers by the younger generations is very important to many who are looking for housing today.
Other priorities include more windows, downstairs bedrooms, home offices, tech/media centers, and flex space. The energy efficiency of a home is of great interest as those in the market for housing want to make sure that they’ll be able to reduce their energy bills through the use of greater energy efficient technology.
Increased windows offer more light, which is important to aging baby boomers. If you’re selling your home and targeting this market, it’s vital to make sure the curtains or shades are open and that you showcase how light and bright your home is, especially in areas like the kitchen, bathroom, and stairwells.
It’s easy to understand why downstairs bedrooms are popular among baby boomers. The less climbing of stairs, the better. While the baby boomers might not be using canes or in wheelchairs, having a home that has flexibility for their future needs is of great concern. If your home has a room downstairs and you’re using it currently for something other than a bedroom, consider rearranging your home to showcase the downstairs room as a bedroom. It could increase the appeal for baby boomers.
Even though baby boomers are either retired or nearing retirement, many keep working. They often have hobbies and/or jobs that require home offices. Many work well past the age of 65 or, at least, work part-time for a supplemental income. A home office might be a necessity for them.
Tech/media centers are also popular among many other generations than the baby boomers. Having a home that has updated wiring is a big plus. If your home has special features such as wireless home network systems, remote control lighting, and other security features, be sure to highlight them when you’re marketing your home for sale. Baby boomers can be very tech savvy so having a home that’s smartly wired for advancing technology will win favor with this group and other generations, too.
But perhaps one of the most compelling selling points of a home for baby boomers is flex space. That’s the ability to switch the use of one area of the home for something completely different as the baby boomers age. The more flex space a home has, the greater the chances baby boomers can stay in it for a longer period of time. So if you’re selling your home and you have one room staged as a den, consider marketing flyers that offer other suggestions for this space such as a bedroom for extended family members.
As with most buyers, regardless of their generation, offering options and showcasing your home’s features will help them clearly see the advantages your house has to offer.