Empty Nester Housing Key As Baby Boomers Keep Working

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Empty Nester Housing Key As Baby Boomers Keep Working

Empty nester housing is a key as the surge in full-time workers over the age of 65 means that folks born in the 1950s are going to continue working well past the traditional retirement age, according to a new report from John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

“The workaholic baby boomers continue to redefine employment, even as they reach the traditional retirement age. They created the surge in dual-income families that ended in 2000, and now they are creating a surge in full-time workers over the age of 65,” write Chris Porter, Chief Demographer, and Mikaela Sharp, Research Analyst, for John Burns.

Burns calls this group born in the 1950s, and ranging in age from 58 to 67, “The Innovators” and the have delayed retirement, driven by economic necessity in the wake of the Great Recession, a desire to keep working, and a realization that they will likely live longer than any generation before them.

"The Innovators" will need empty nester housing

“The Innovators” are now outside the “prime working years” category (ages 25–54) that many economists use. The 55+ age group now holds 22% of all full-time jobs—a significant increase from only 11% in the mid-1990s.

  • Large in numbers. 66% more people were born in the 1950s than the 1930s, and immigration over the years has added to their size.
  • Hard working. They have had the highest labor force participation rates of any generation after age 35, with nearly two-thirds of them still working today.

“As more Innovators reach the traditional retirement age, we forecast that they will continue to work more than any preceding generation,” Porter and Sharp write in the report. “We anticipate that one-quarter of them will still be working full-time in their late sixties—almost 7% more than those born in the 1940s and 11% more than those born in the 1930s.”

Building empty nester housing

“Because of these shifts, we are telling our clients to build Empty Nester housing,” Porter and Sharp write:

  • Near employment centers. While many will telecommute, a higher than usual percentage want to live closer to job centers. Additionally, a higher percentage will want to live near their kids and grandchildren, whose presence is the most important “amenity.”
  • With multigenerational floor plans. Separate entrances, dual masters, and even separate mini-kitchens have resonated with this group. The 1950s Innovators have the down payment, and their adult kids can make the mortgage payment, resulting in a great opportunity to build homes that don’t exist in the resale market today.

Empty Nester Housing Key As Baby Boomers Keep Working

About the authors:

Chris Porter is Chief Demographer for John Burns Real Estate Consutling. He helps our clients understand the role demographics plays in shaping the demand for housing in the short and long term. He co-authored Big Shifts Ahead: Demographic Clarity for Businesses, which is now available for purchase. Chris was instrumental in developing our Housing Demand by Price Point and LifeStage model.  The research he leads informs many of our firm’s forecasts.Before joining John Burns Real Estate Consulting in 2005, Chris worked for Reed Business Information’s HousingZone.com web site, and was also Director of Electronic Media for Reed’s Building and Construction Group. Before that he was an analyst at Rogerscasey, an investment consulting firm. Chris has a B.A. in Economics from Princeton University and a M.S. from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and works in the Irvine office. If you have any questions, please contact Chris at (949) 870-1218.

Mikaela Sharp collects and analyzes data for compelling and timely demographic research. She also supports the Marketing team toward building the company’s demographic brand. Before becoming a Research Analyst, Mikaela began her career with John Burns Real Estate Consulting as an intern for both the Demographics and Marketing departments. Mikaela holds a B.A. in Business Economics from the University of California, Irvine. If  you have any questions, please contact Mikaela at (949) 870-1203

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