Although millennial homebuyers are making up an increasingly large percentage of the buying population in real estate, senior citizens’ housing preferences will continue to determine the nature of the future housing market. This is according to the 2018 State of the Nation’s Housing report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.
Historically, younger homebuyers’ housing preferences would be playing an increasingly substantial role in shaping today’s housing market as older homeowners aged into alternative living situations. However, thanks to seniors’ strong preference for remaining in their current home as they age, national homeownership trends are still heavily influenced by older generations.
88% of seniors said they would stay in their home as long as they could, according to a 2014 survey. According to the more recent report, “households headed by persons aged 65 and over will continue to grow at an unprecedented pace in the next decade, increasing the presence of older households in both the homeowner and rental markets.”
Boomer Households Have Specific Needs
In order to remain in place as they age, baby boomers will require certain amenities and real estate in proximity to certain services. For example, the center said, older adults will require:
- Better access to transportation
- Access to support services, including medical facilities
- Building designs that are easy to navigate, possibly with only one story and few or no steps
- Wider doorways (to accommodate chairs and even hospital beds)
- Easy-access bathroom facilities
- Grab bars
Some investors are opting to preemptively install some of these features, particularly wide doorways, which are easier to put in place during construction or rehabbing. However, you may wish to simply offer optional installation of grab bars, for example, if the buyer sees a need for them.