The median age in the United States has been steadily growing since 2009, having reached a peak of 38.1 in 2017, according to latest data. This is the result of many factors including the economic problems that have affected birth rates after the 2007 recession. Yet a bigger contributor to this rapid population aging is members of the largest adult generation in America, Baby Boomers, are passing the 60 threshold.
Boomers have challenged traditional retirement and have embraced a tendency to downsize and move into rentals. A study from earlier this year found that seniors over 60 are now the fastest growing segment of renters in the US.
Analysts predict that the 60+ share segment of renters will keep on growing and will become the second largest renter demographic. With changes in seniors’ housing preferences, the real estate market is also shifting its focus in both location and amenities.
Lately, industry specialists have focused on improving community and neighborhood amenities, especially for the older generation. More communities include a recreational center and tenants are encouraged to engage in planned activities with their neighbors.
With more focus on community, less importance is placed on apartments, especially their size. Generally, the trend has been to downscale and rent smaller units, which reduces the energy and money that goes into maintenance. This frees up more time for self-care and travelling, while also bringing about a financial advantage.
Location and the quality of the neighborhood are also the primary concerns of boomers. Being close to public transportation or living in proximity to restaurants, entertainment options, healthcare facilities, and stores weighs heavily in seniors’ decision to rent, as well as buy in a certain place.
Looking at Census data, a recent report found that baby boomers—both renters and homeowners—are showing an increasing interest in bigger cities. Most of the top zip codes with the largest population of boomers were found in New York, with Brooklyn’s 11234 being home to 19,450 boomers.
The highest 5-year increase in baby boomer population was also registered in zip codes from larger cities, with Las Vegas, NV and Austin, TX displaying a 79% and a 74% rise respectively. However, the south still remains a popular choice for this demographic, as zip codes in Arizona and Florida have the largest share of boomers in their population.
All things considered, it’s clear that the rental market will continue to be influenced by baby boomers as they decide to embrace more active lifestyles during retirement. With less interest for large homes, comfortable rentals are the top of the older generation’s housing choice.
About the author: Mihaela is a passionate reader and writer, with an affinity for language and linguistics, as well as the latest technological developments. She discovered her passion for real estate at RENTCafé, and you can read more of her articles on their blog.