Baby boomers were hit hard by the economic downturn but will eventually get back into the housing market “in a big way” according to panelists at NAHB’s Building for Boomers and Beyond 50+ Housing Symposium.
The National Association of Home Builders’ symposium took place in Philadelphia April 27-29, where panelists noted many U.S. boomers experiencing sizable declines in wealth from the housing and financial downturns. This group, in general, has their housing activity on hold, but will make their way back gradually and will again be active in this market.
For right now, boomers who want to move to an active-adult community for 55+ residents face a major challenge in selling their existing home. Still, panelists said that boomers’ housing market performance is no better and no worse than the overall housing market.
Housing Just Beginning to Emerge
Panelists said the housing market overall is “just beginning to emerge” from its downturn.
The 55+ age group will be a full one-quarter of the U.S. population next year. Panelists expect home sales to 55+ buyers to strengthen in 2010 and some forecasted that particular market segments, such as the most affluent boomers, “could become notably robust as early as 2012.”
NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe forecast housing starts attributable to 55+ demand:
- 2008: about 250,000 units
- 2009: almost 126,000 units
- 2010: 175,000 units
New home sales to 55+ buyers, according to Crowe:
- 2009: 85,000
- 2010: 125,000
Crowe said home sales in communities targeted to 55+ buyers remains, for now, “a relatively small market” and forecast:
- 2008: 26,000 units
- 2010: 38,000 units
Studying Boomer Intentions Post-Recession
An NAHB/MetLife Mature Market Institute study that was released at the symposium provided findings that are intended to help builders gauge boomer housing demand. The study characterizes this group as those currently age 45 to 63. Findings suggest they plan to live differently in retirement than previous retiree generations.
Notable findings—boomers intend to:
- work longer into retirement
- move less far when they do retire
- modify their existing homes to allow aging-in-place – instead of moving