How boomers will change housing market

A new report says seniors are healthier and more active and might not be happy living in traditional nursing homes.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 18, 2012 2:58PM
Portrait of smiling senior couple on bicycles -- Robert Daly, OJO Images, Getty ImagesBy Bruce Kennedy

The demographics on aging in America are literally a gray area. The number of people age 65 and older in the U.S. is expected to rise to an unprecedented 55 million by 2020 -- up 36% from 2010. By the end of this decade, nearly 40 million baby boomers -- those born between 1946 and 1964 -- will turn 65.

According to a new study by the Urban Land Institute, those so-called leading-edge boomers, the ones born between 1946 and 1956, will not act like prior generations as they approach the golden years. In fact, they'll probably blow a hole through the way we look at retirement, housing and the elderly.

John McIlwain, the ULI study's author, divides people over age 65 into three waves: the World War II-era "greatest" generation, the "silent" generation (ages 67 to 85) and the leading-edge boomers. These three groups, he says, will live longer than any generation before them, with many living past age 90 and even 100.

One of the biggest challenges facing this new breed of seniors, he notes, is that few will have the financial resources to support themselves through a longer retirement. "That's going to put a demand on federal resources, as well as family resources and charitable resources," he said in an interview. At the same time, people under age 35 are going through some of the hardest economic times since the Great Depression and will have to compete with their elders for limited resources.

McIlwain says this demographic change will have a major impact on the U.S. housing market. The leading-edge boomers are expected to be more healthy, active and independent -- which means many will want to remain in their current homes. And those who do move, he says, will be looking for urban locations with smaller and easier-to-maintain housing where they can be close to friends, families, work, transportation and social amenities.

This change could lead to a decline for the estimated 50,000 housing communities across the U.S. providing nursing care for seniors. The recent economic downturn has made those facilities too costly for many families. And given that the average age of someone living in a senior facility is 84, such communities are having difficulty finding new residents.

How will the housing sector change in response? The ULI report says many of today's seniors and baby boomers are creating new niche housing markets, including multigenerational living, which is rising at a faster rate than overall household growth in the U.S., as well as group living communities. College towns, which allow seniors to enjoy campus activities while being near children and grandchildren, are also expected to see more older residents.

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Oct 19, 2012 7:32PM
Im convinced that us baby boomers will be the 1st generation of Americans that will be openly told to die and spare earth of overcrowding. 

Oct 22, 2012 9:18AM
I figure my wife and I, along with employer contributions, will have paid close to a half a million in social security by the time we retire. Put that in a reverse annuity and we're set. Unfortunately the government spent it. Now we are the problem!
Oct 19, 2012 5:35PM
This article only scratches the surface of what will become a major universal problem.  if you are 35+ get ready to open those wallets and purses to shell out more bucks for your parents and uncles and aunts.  They gave you life, paid for your education and care, now its payback time.  Countries like Japan do an honorable job of caring for their elderly, so should America.
Oct 19, 2012 9:45PM

OK Let's say it is 1946, the first year the boomers were conceived. You are parents  of the first generation to have social security while you are working. A very large percentage of the workforce dies before they can collect social security. In fact the government is collecting more ss funds than it pays out.

In fact this continues til 2010! Along the way, the first time in the 1930s the government confiscates gold so they can double the price of it, then have double the money for spending. Only good thing is at least the currency is pegged to an actual asset. Then comes 1973, and the US goverment leaves the gold standard altogether. What is the value behind these printed dollars? -----Faith. But because there is no asset behind the paper, the FED prints as it thinks we need it. Not within a budget that says we only have this amount of assets. This is the biggest problem. Do you think if it was hands off ss money and the government had the ability to spend only what it had for assets---unless it confiscated and revalued the assets, we would have this situation? If the American people can somehow get to vote on a ballot that our currency has to be pegged to actual assets such as oil, gas, copper, silver, and grains then the future will have a much better chance of slowing the struggles that  society is facing.

Oct 22, 2012 8:21AM

I love all 7 of our children and raised them to be independent and successful.  BUT, I do not EXPECT anything in the

way of healthcare or personal support from them as I am failing.


If they see fit to help me, then I am truly blessed.  If they do not, that is because they choose not me and there

is nothing I can do about that issue.


I lived in a three generation home and it was a great way to grow up.  But times are different and people are different

and modern times have changed the way people think. 


Perhaps we allowed our young people too much in the way of "free thinking" at too young an age; when we should

have held the "reigns" of life closer to our hearts and kept our children to ourselves more; not allowing them to be

raised by the TV set and a babysitter.


But we can hope that there will always be another generation coming along that thinks the old fashoned way about

family being something important and always a part of our lives and lifestyle, and a viable source of learning for

the youngsters in our homes.  Old people are a great "library in the home" for little ones.


Just my opinion.

Oct 19, 2012 9:56PM

I'm paying thru the nose for health ins for myself and daughter. I'm going to work as long as possible to keep it and live well. I'm sure I'll out live my small retirement savings if don't.

Oct 22, 2012 8:30AM
What a load of crap! The only way many of us will live past 90 or 100 is on a life support.
Oct 22, 2012 9:46AM
This article is very narrow in scope in terms of the impact aging boomers will have on housing. The biggest change will be on home sales in general. The boomers who drove the explosion of new construction in the 80's and 90's is over, leaving a glut of homes that no one wants to buy. As these people die off, go to nursing homes or apartments, the result is simply way too many houses out there.  The younger generation does not want them or cannot afford them. This is why the housing industry will not fully rebound for decades. Also, the media images of 80 year old people climbing mountains and running marathons is a myth. Most people in their 80 (if you live that long) are just trying to survive (bably boomer or not).
Oct 22, 2012 10:23AM

When my grandfather had a stroke, the common thing was to put him in a nursing home. This tore our family up. The conditions were horrible and it got to the point that we had to do something. My grandmother got him out of that situation and cared for him at home. The whole family helped out, including aunts, uncles, cousins, as well as immediate family members. Now my parents are getting up in age, and thank God they're healthy, but the time will come that they'll need assistance. We've already started making improvements to the home and surrounding yard to accommodate their increasing limited mobility. As long as I'm able to draw breath, they will NEVER be placed in any assisted living facility. But you can't wait when these problems present themselves; you have to start the planning and preparations now. Trust me, your family will be much more better off and stronger than to put your parents into any facility. But you have to act now. Keep the family homestead in the family !

Oct 22, 2012 11:05AM
Oct 22, 2012 9:54AM
Not is not of question of whether you would like to live in a nursing home, it is a matter of necessity whether you have the money or not. This article is not realistic.
Oct 19, 2012 6:46PM




someone buy this guy a calculator



"By the end of this decade, nearly 40 million baby boomers -- those born between 1946 and 1964 -- will turn 65"



someone born in 1964, will be 56 years old in 2020, to reach the golden age of 65 by the end of this decade, you must be born before Jan 01 1956

Oct 21, 2012 8:15AM

Reality: What we are dealing with rigfht now can all be remedied. First... we can't move forward with 50 year olds out of work and 65 year olds on the same job they've had for 45 years. Some oppose unions and others oppose glass ceilings. For a fact, the best approach is to either cap same job time at 7-10 years unless it's your own enterprise started from scratch (not inherited). If forced freshness occurs, a competence Bell Curve can replace this dysfunctional current system. Why is there a gap in skill sets? Because organized business terminates experience before it can collect what it was promised or due and replaces it with indebted youth. If ALL roles including management were swapped out every 7-10 years, it would become evident that someone with 3 or more cycles (job shifts) has accumulated some pretty valuable wisdom and should be training those entering the workforce for the first time. Further, a 4th cycler on up would also be a better Board Director than a wealthy person because inevitably, the 4 cycler has realized more trends and thus has a wiser and more realistic approach to them.

We know that housing is a problem that can be fixed. If our infrastructure was geared more to use instead of investment value, we wouldn't have grandma finishing life in her massive family home, while a new family attempts life in a one-bedroom apartment. Eliminate Realtors and fix housing to the credit... is it in a condition and functional state that warrants credit or should it be slated for renewal? LOOK at our municipalities and the failure of administrative government. Instead of new laws and ordinances, how about making sure where we live and what we live in has sustainability. It makes no sense to have giant businesses where a few make too much and the rest live close to or in poverty. It makes no sense to have urban blight and country estates.... single occupant cars and struggling mass transit.

I for one don't think I will ever retire. The work I do may shift. The longer I am exposed to the main stream of activity, the more valuable I am for my experience. The longer I am not left in a box, even if it's my home, the longer I breathe air and want to be engaged. Pay plenty to youth because they have the drive and strength to keep us evolving. Pay consistent in the middle ages so those there can concentrate on maintaining stability as we evolve. Pay adequately for the wisdom of reference in the elder to ensure we do not repeat past mistakes but can learn from them.


Wealth and Poverty are the same handicap to any Society. Neither will contribute a fair share and take too much from the rest to uphold their condition. I'd rather see a broader middle that works for the good of all and does.

Oct 19, 2012 5:18PM
Wait until they get those Obamacare "death panels" kicking in & doing their job starting in 2014.  That'll get those pesky long-livin' seniors dying off at the rate the gov't needs 'em to!  Who says they have to be provided with all that expensive medical care in their golden years?  In Canada & Europe (Obama's model societies that he's based Obamacare on) when you develop expensive medical conditions in your 70's or 80's they just have you wait & wait for the operations or procedures that you need until nature takes its course & God takes you home.  It's comin' here too seniors!  So enough with the smiling pictures of the seniors ridin' their bikes & planning to live to be 100- it ain't gonna happen!  :-(  
Oct 19, 2012 5:21PM
They screwed to make us and now they are going to just plain screw us.  35 and struggling.
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