According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University’s 2018 State of the Nation’s Housing report, the median age of homeowners rose from 50 to 56 between 2000 and 2016, and nearly 80 percent of people over 65 are homeowners. And almost 90 percent of seniors said they plan to stay in their homes as they age.
It is expected that the number of senior households will continue to grow, with seniors deciding either renovate to make their homes accommodate their needs or move to a smaller, more accessible home.
“I meet some senior clients as buyers who want to find new homes that are more manageable, on one level with less land. But they mostly don’t want to move into retirement communities. In our area, this means they are competing for small ranch and and cape-style homes with first-time buyers. Seniors usually have more cash and usually win when they compete. This is one of the challenges for first-time buyers, or young families. They’re usually cash-strapped millennials, all the cliches, forced to complete with their parents’ generation,” said District 2 Vice President Christina Cardone. “On the other hand, seniors who want to stay in their homes, and that’s most of them, are holding back our inventory. Why? Among all the reasons we’ve heard, the one I personally encounter is that so many people, seniors especially, are taking care of, or at least living with, multiple generations. Older baby boomers are sharing homes with their kids, or taking care of grandkids, and maybe taking care of their aging parents too. So their keeping their big family houses longer than we might have predicted. This also limits inventory for our move up buyers with growing families.”
Cardone added that she has seen an uptick in requests for ground floor master bedrooms, along with homes with two master bedrooms.
“I definitely also meet more seniors who are still working and plan to keep working for quite a while. And many who are still helping their kids recover financially from the recent crash,” she said. “I have a couple senior clients who are selling investment properties, but staying put in their homes,” said Cardone.
District 3 Vice President Maryellen O’Brein said she has been working with seniors frequently as of late. “I am currently representing three seniors, ages 82 to 96, who are transitioning to assisted living residences. Their biggest need is trying to scale down possessions, collections and paperwork for over 50+ years in almost each case,” said O’Brein.
Adam Conrad, the DVP for District 8, added that when older homeowners decide it’s time to move, they should start de-cluttering right away. “It can be overwhelming to go through boxes stored in the attic and basement but it’s time to organize. Separate items into categories – give to family, sell, donate and throw away. When it comes to selling items you have lots of options, yard sales, consignment shops and auctions. eBay can also be a venue for you if you don’t mind the time-consuming process of listing, selling and shipping your items. There are many local companies who can help you with selling – they will do clean outs and auctions as well as purchase or consign items.”