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UpperKey looks at why some Baby Boomers could finally be thinking about letting go of their properties


So why could our Baby Boomers suddenly be looking at selling their family homes.

Amidst arguments about who’s responsible for current property market problems, we consider why more Baby Boomers are moving into rentals.

Despite the construction industry typically working towards the markets where the best margins are and who needs that housing the most ‘right now’, the majority of the current property market still seems to be sat in the hands of the Baby Boomer generation.

Those Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, making them 57 to 75-years-old (at the time of writing), appear to be the ones holding the lion’s share of homes and houses.

44% of the homes in the US, with Gen X, the current 45 to 56-year-olds, owning the next biggest chunk at 31%. So as you can see from those figures, there isn’t much of the market left for anyone else.

Sadly, for those with possible new families, desperate to get on the property ladder, the Millennial generation (currently 24 to 44-years-old), eager to own their own homes, are trailing significantly, holding only 11% of the houses in the US.

Further bad news for Millennials shows that the current climate has the largest generation entering their 30s of all time. That’s a lot of demand for family-sized properties in family-led community areas.

So why isn’t the usual come and go of the housing market following historical patterns? Well, those Baby Boomers are living longer, healthier lives and are less likely to move into care or in with family as they reach older age. Instead, they're choosing to live out their days in their own homes, maintaining relationships with their established friends and communities, and keeping all their trusted facilities close to hand.

But that means fewer houses on the market and less available for those home-hungry Millennials to acquire.

Baby Boomers, Millennials, and property investment
Buying property has always been and will continue to be a wise investment. As trends have almost always shown, a sensible property investment retains (at minimum) or increases in value and is far better than the latest interest rates (and let’s face it, right now, they’re abysmal).

Those Boomers have been boxing clever, holding onto their homes for as long as they have. And right now, who’d want to move into care or nursing homes? They haven’t received the best press through the pandemic with such frightening COVID figures putting another tick in the ‘reasons against’ box.

So why could our Baby Boomers suddenly be looking at selling their family homes?

We believe the most enticing reasons are as follows:

1. It’s the right time to downsize
Living in large family homes, yet with the family long since fleeing the nest, our Baby Boomers don’t need the extra rooms they once did. All that additional space takes a lot of upkeep and maintenance too, so if you’re trying to slow down and take it easy, why waste your time and energy with such unnecessary effort?

By downsizing, quality of life and free time are more plentiful. It’s also a great way of freeing up cash to spend on those new-lease-of-life activities.

2. Renting provides a new type of flexibility
Short, mid, and long-term rentals offer retirees the freedom to experience life in new communities at alternative locations without the commitment. If they have family dotted around the country, they can choose to be nearer to any of them, whenever they like, for as long as they choose. Perhaps a few years of city life could add a little excitement to those golden years and then catching a breath back in a preferred rural area? By skipping from rental to rental, it’s far easier to manage a great mixture of different lifestyle stages.

When the time comes, and it isn’t reasonable to easily manage the daily necessities of life, a community development apartment could be far more attractive than complete care or nursing facility. Skipping from rental to rental makes such a transition far simpler.

3. It’s a convenient, no stress way of living
There’s no leaky roof to fix, gutters to clear, no exteriors to paint, no decorating, repairs or upgrades to worry about. That’s the landlord’s problem now. All that’s left for our renting Boomers to do is to enjoy their golden years and the easy life they’ve afforded themselves.

4. It could be more economical
Without the ongoing costs of upkeep, maintenance, taxes, and the energy required heating and powering a large family home, living smaller in a more appropriately sized property could even come with a profit, especially when investing the capital raised by selling that previously owned property.

5. They don’t want the stress of selling in their most senior years
Selling a house is stressful, and that’s when you’re young enough to manage the ins and outs and all of the problems and pressures. Who wants all that stress in their 70s or 80s? Offloading the worry earlier means more years without that worry hanging over them.

6. To make alternative investments
However much capital is raised through the sale, and whatever money is saved by downsizing and renting, it can all be invested in alternative options. That might be in other commercial markets or even as low-rate loans to family members eager to invest in their own forever-family homes.

Baby Boomers are renowned as long-term savers and investors—could now be the time to convert those investments into the rewards they’ve been saving for, for all those years?

What kind of rentals are attracting our Boomers, and why?
With a handful of reasons why our Baby Boomers might take the plunge and sell their homes, it begs the question, ‘What kind of replacement home are they looking for in today’s climate?’

As a leading iRenting agency, UpperKey delivers the kind of technology and beautifully presented apartments anyone would be thrilled to live in.

The rise of the PropTech industry (Property Technology) is delivering great strides to make hi-tech living a far more attractive proposition to everyone. With Baby Boomers becoming more tech-savvy, constantly connected to their communities via their mobiles and devices, these smart-home technologies are exactly the elements they’re looking for.

Smart tech properties for smart tech seniors
There’s so much tech around that’s designed to help all of us live easier lives. For the smart senior renter, moving into a property with the latest innovative assistants and appliances not only makes life easier but removes any concern over the installation and activation of those highly desirable elements—that’s all down to the landlord.

1. Energy control and savings
With smart meters and mobile app control, homes are now more efficiently managed. Smart energy-saving devices can cut heating bills and lower energy costs significantly. Users can manage schedules remotely, saving money by turning off heating when they don’t need it and using it only when they do.

2. Safety and security
With further app-based alarm and security systems, including video doorbells and mobile alerts, the smart-tech senior can take control of their home security, providing the safety they desire while they enjoy their independence.

For each family’s peace of mind, monitoring safety and security services can be spread around relatives. As well as the electronic monitoring of smoke and carbon dioxide detectors, there are also medical monitoring devices and mobility assistance products—wearable tech that alerts family members to problems. Home-centric video messaging products and smart cameras also deliver assurance to any worried offspring or siblings.

3. Connectivity, control, and convenience
Have you heard of ‘curb-to-couch’ technology? Well, for seniors, it’s a blessing. With keyless entry technology controlled from their phone, there’s no more rooting around for keys nor a reason to get of the sofa when the doorbell rings. With access granted via their mobile, any guests, neighbours, deliveries or visitors are permitted entry without that stressful chase to get to the door before they disappear.

A hi-speed, quality Internet connection allows ease of application for all of the necessary facilities: online shopping, banking, bill payment, and then there’s the beauty of an AI-controlled electronic voice assistant linked to your smart-home, turning on lights, appliances, heating, adjusting the thermostat, changing channels on the TV, playing music, providing entertainment—all without having to lift a finger.

Additional access facilities they won’t have to foot the bill for
There are plenty of developments and properties explicitly designed with senior tenants in mind. Baby Boomers moving into such rentals can expect all the elements they might likely need as they get older: stair-free access, wheelchair friendly doorways, safety bars, ramps, and all without paying a penny towards their installation.

These custom-built homes may also include kitchen mods with alternative counter heights, easier access to storage, bathroom and shower upgrades that help with getting in and out of the bath or taking a shower, stairlifts, and even electronic seating operation for simpler standing up and sitting down.

Hopefully, these elements might not be needed for years. However, if the time comes that they are, relocating should be far simpler without organising installation from scratch into the family home. It should only be a matter of picking out a new home that already has them in place!

UpperKey Founders:
Benoit Lam @benoit__lam
Johan Hajji @HotelMarket20

Photo by James Hose Jr on Unsplash

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