Rental Housing Huddle: Catering to Baby Boomers

By jsims Posted July 19, 2017

Rental Housing Huddle: Catering to Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers are the new hipsters in rental housing. Russ Webb, VP of the Atlanta and Georgia Apartment Associations, shed light on this often overlooked generation and how it will impact multifamily over the next 5-7 years.

Giving the growing number of Baby Boomer renters what they want and need is eclipsing Millennials—and EVERYTHING we read today is about Millennials. Okay, we get it. They aren’t brand new anymore. They have children who are in school now. We’ve got to redirect our focus.

So what about those Boomers?  From downsizing to choosing a more convenient lifestyle, are we capable of giving these new renters what they need? YES!

Who are they? Those born between 1945 and 1964ish. And guess what? CNN says that by 2030, Baby Boomers will make up 19% of the population, up from 13% today. In fact, the number of Americans 65 and older will reach 88.5 million by 2050, more than double the estimated 40.2 million in that group in 2010.

Get ready! The flood of Baby Boomers into retirement over the next 40 years creates a seismic shift from home ownership to renting for the Boomer generation, ensuring substantial upside for apartment investing. Russ says that as Boomers downsize from home ownership to enter market rate, active-adult, senior, and assisted living communities, their impact will undeniably be felt the strongest in multifamily.

According to other experts, “We’re forecasting an increase in 55-plus households from 30 million currently to 50 million in 2035,” says Jonathan Spader, Senior Research Associate for the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

What are we seeing? Boomers are looking for the right combination that better fits their lifestyles, and lot of times it’s apartment living,” Russ said. “In Atlanta, we’re seeing Boomers keeping homes in the suburbs and renting downtown. They want to have a presence in town so they don’t commute late at night or want to stay downtown for the weekend.”

Webb also says Boomers aren’t looking for concessions and are less likely than younger renters to jump ship after one lease. What else is going on with Boomers?

  1. Boomers are also moving into student properties, and they do it because they want things to do and (some) are even going back to school.
  2. Boomers have money. They don’t need mom and dad to pay their rent. They have disposable income.
  3. Boomers want immediate service and aren’t willing to wait on a maintenance work order for 2-3 weeks.
  4. Boomer prefer current style with high-end finishes.

Russ says that catering and advertising to Boomers requires a completely different approach than what we’re doing now. When you’re putting together your marketing plan together for your communities, you have to market to each demo differently.

Read more about why the apartment industry should take renting to Baby Boomers more seriously.


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