While home builders have pinned their hopes on millennials emerging from the shadows this year to claim their stake in the housing market, a different generation has been keeping residential construction contractors busy.
Boomers who are downsizing rather than aging in place are buying homes specifically designed to entice millennials to buy into the American dream of homeownership.
D.R. Horton launched its Freedom Homes line for boomers looking for an affordable, low-maintenance lifestyle after the national home builder noted that older buyers had purchased nearly 45% of the properties intended to appeal to millennials, according to Construction Dive.
Home builders Taylor Morrison and Hanley Wood have collaborated to market homes under the NEXTadventure name to the 55-plus home buyer. Based on focus-group feedback, homes will feature a large kitchen island, “super shower,” and second-bedroom “snore room,” as well as an outdoor living area with pool, fireplace, and summer kitchen.
What boomers want most when buying a new home is a friendly and welcoming community that balances open floor plans and indoor-outdoor spaces with location and price.
The US residential construction contractors industry continues to grow. According to First Research, the industry includes more than 150,000 establishments (single-location companies and units of multilocation companies) with annual revenue of about $425 billion.
Residential real estate will see a seismic shift during the next 20 years as Americans age 50 and older move toward retirement and eventually sell their primary residences, according to RealtyTrac.
A report by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies indicates that this 76-million-strong group will swell to 132 million by 2030.
Millions of boomers with small or no mortgages are likely to sell their homes during the next decade.
Industry Impact — Residential real estate agents must steer both millennial and boomer buyers to properties that are affordable and easy to maintain. Builders with new homes designed specifically for these generations are more likely to offer clients the communities and features on their wish list.
Tracking the moves of consumer products makers since 2003, Catherine Colbert is an industry researcher, writer, and blogger. Previously, she spent ample time in magazine publishing, technical writing, ad copywriting, medical writing, and marketing. Follow her on Twitter.