This is the first of four blogs from The Lanham Group on home-buying trends among Baby Boomers. Click below to see this video about single-floor homes! To view the entire library, click here.
Click below to see Gary's take on the benefits for Baby Boomers.
Baby Boomers who relocate to South Florida to buy their first Fort Lauderdale home often encounter an architectural culture shock. Up north were multi-story homes. Down here, we have single-floor, “ranch-style” homes. Across Broward County, from Pompano Beach to Oakland Park, Bay Colony to Victoria Park and Coral Ridge, whether they were waterfront or inland, stairways were nowhere to be found. This design is an artifact of 1950s though 1970s architecture of sprawling homes with large windows and open vistas.
Today, ranch-style waterfront homes are being bought for the property they sit on. They’re being torn down, with two-story luxury residences rising in their place to capitalize on the now-precious real estate.
Yet thousands of single-story homes remain. And Baby Boomers appreciate their design and lifestyle benefits.
Boomers certainly aren’t alone. New homeowners include Generation Xers (those born between 1966 to 1980, and ages 38 to 53 years old, or even Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996 and ages 22 to 37 years old).
Yet the sweet spot is the Baby Boomers themselves, the post-war generation born between 1946 and 1964. They increasingly seek the convenience and comfort that comes from that single-story residence. Whether single, married, or widowed, gay or straight, with children or empty nesters, or caregivers to aging parents, Boomers are part of the “silver tsunami.” They’re working or have worked hard throughout their career arc, and are planning for retirement with mobility and lifestyle in mind.
Single-Floor Homes Offer Convenience Boomers Seek
In a word, for many, single-floor living translates to “convenience.” While builders are including elevators in newer, multi-story homes, Boomer homebuyers are looking toward the future. Whether still at work or aging with an eye on eventual retirement, they seek mobility. They appreciate the attributes that older homes afford: open space, large windows, a view of the outdoors, and the convenience of single-floor living.
Let’s not confuse single- versus multi-floor living with any loss of square footage. Those familiar with the older architecture know ranch-style homes can range from tidy 1,200-square-foot homes to those with more than 3,000 square feet in living area under air conditioning. They can be spacious and impressive.
Economics also are playing a role in Boomers’ home selection. A decade ago, the nation – and world – suffered a global “Great Recession.” A Boomer who’s 65 today might have lost a significant share of their retirement savings in the downturn. Many saw their home values plummet, finding themselves “upside down” in their mortgages, tapping savings or home-equity lines pay ongoing expenses.
While many have recovered, some still find themselves digging out, and taking a new perspective on life and their future. If they still own their homes, they see those residences in their future. If they owned big homes, they might be downsizing. This entrepreneurial generation have long lives in mind, but know they might work longer to reach eventual retirement.
So those single-floor homes take on an entirely new appeal.
Homes for an Active Generation
Boomers are an active generation. They want home offices to handle their small businesses or daily affairs. They’re athletic and want space in their homes and lives for their personal pursuits and equipment. They’re travelers who appreciate older homes’ wide hallways through which to wheel their luggage.
They’re also realists. With their own aging in mind, they see retirement – and beyond. One day, they might need ease of navigation throughout the home. Whether navigating those wide hallways and doorways with their walkers or wheelchairs, or retrofitting their bathrooms with easier, even wheelchair accessibility, grab bars in the showers to remove hazards and improve safety for those susceptible to falls.
Boomers also are part of the “sandwich generation.” With children and aging parents under their care, they may find themselves tending to both. Many are moving their parents into their homes, and fear the danger and inconvenience of stairs. Theirs and their parents’ futures often are intertwined.
While convenience describe Boomers desire for homes, they’re also a dynamic and active group eager for what tomorrow brings. Check out our entire video series on architecture, lighting, and automation and intelligent homes to learn more about how Baby Boomers are redefining South Florida homeownership.
In the meantime, if you’re buying or selling, and want to learn more, let’s talk…
Gary Lanham Group at Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate is a boutique real estate organization offering sales, leasing, and brokerage services to the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. A listings agent matches home sellers with buyers and tenants with landlords. While Broward County is our universe, we focus on Coral Ridge Country Club, Oakland Park, Wilton Manors, Pompano Beach, and the surrounding areas. Call us today at (954) 695-6518 or visit www.GaryLanhamGroup.com.