Forget The Millennials, The Baby Boomer Renters Want Apartments

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The Editors's picture
Baby Boomer renters

The current trends in apartment development are suddenly attracting a new kind of renter, Baby Boomer renters over age 55 who want to live in apartments in the suburbs, according to a new study.

These potential new tenants are highly educated and have no children in the household.

“Whether driven by a change in lifestyle, a consequence of the housing crash, or an inability to downsize due to lack of affordable homes, senior households are embracing renting in droves,” according to RentCafe.com.

Some highlights of the Baby Boomer renters report:

  • Between 2009 and 2015, the percentage of the renting population over 55 years old increased by a whopping 28% (vs. 3% increase in renters 34 or younger).
  • By education, the biggest changes came from renters holding a bachelor degree or higher: up by 23% (vs. 17% increase in college graduates).
  • Renter households with no children saw the most significant percentage increase when looking at family type: up by 21% (vs. 14% increase in families with children).

Nationwide, the number of senior renter households saw a 2.5 million gain between 2009 and  2015, the largest net increase by age group, according to the study.

Baby Boomer renters choosing suburban lifestyle

Since 2009, 39% more Baby Boomer renters over 55 have chosen the suburban lifestyle for their rental housing.

Among the 20 largest metros in the US, Riverside boasts the highest percentage increase in terms of senior renter-occupied households (63%), while Los Angeles posts the biggest gain (approx. 134,000).

Comprised mostly of Baby Boomers, this generation has lived a big part of its life in the suburbs, essentially being responsible for the launch and prosperity of the consumer suburb. Owning a home and raising a family in a suburban community truly defined this age group. Now it finds itself in a big empty house, with too much space to keep up and high property taxes to pay. They are not moving into the city in an urban environment.

“Lowering living expenses, looking for a different lifestyle, less house-related work and overall less responsibility can be achieved by downsizing, so a lot of retirees opt to rent,” Simona Solomie, a real estate broker with Remax Masters of Morton Grove, Illinois, who works with home sellers, buyers, and renters in the western and northwestern suburbs of Chicago, told RentCafe in the study.

Baby boomers also account for the highest increase in renters in urban areas, but the spike in numbers is much higher in the suburbs (21% vs 39%). The second highest increase comes from renters aged 35-54, 27% in the suburbs and 8% in the city.

Cities with largest increase in Baby Boomer renters

Baby Boomer renters

In all 20 largest U.S. metros in the study, without exception, the rate of increase in senior renters greatly surpasses that of younger renters.

The two largest gains were in the Los Angeles metro and New York metro. The Los Angeles metro gained 134,000 new senior renter-occupied households and lost 26,000 renter households under 34 years of age.

New York City gained an additional 124,000 renter households over 55 during this time period and about 54,000 under 34.

While Los Angeles and New York had the biggest numbers, the fastest growing areas Phoenix, Riverside and Tampa showed the biggest increases in Baby Boomer renters.

Here are the top 10:

  1. Riverside, CA   – 63%
  2. Tampa, FL – 61%
  3. Phoenix, AZ ­ – 59%
  4. Dallas – 46%
  5. Seattle – 45%
  6. Atlanta – 44%
  7. Washington -44%
  8. Denver  – 43%
  9. Minneapolis – 38%
  10. San Diego – 33%

This Baby Boomer renter is interested to live in a place that offers a convenient, quality lifestyle, a comfortable living space, a place to exercise, and a place to socialize all-in-one.

Read the full report here.

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