Sunday, March 18, 2012

4 Million Baby Boomers Will Turn 65 This Year

One reason our local Florida real estate should begin an upswing is that baby boomers are becoming seniors at a rate of 10,000 per day, 4 million per year. By 2020, 80 million people in the U.S. will be 65 or older.  This is huge for Florida.
As a Realtor, I can most certainly help these new seniors flee ice storms and frost heaves, and find them nicely priced homes, either new or used.  I spent this week showing golf course homes, but it doesn’t matter whether they want waterfront, or golf course front or just seek the security of a gated retirement community with internal social activities, it’s all here.

I welcome new seniors to our neighborhoods almost everyday.  They come from all parts of the US and make great neighbors.  They still support their old regional sports favorites but as often as not they are friendly and like to share their favorite regional food preferences with the neighborhood, so getting together usually is always interesting.  And municipal officials are quick to note they don’t impact the schools or police as younger residents might--they commit far fewer crimes and drive less—even if they require more medical facilities.

These early retirement buyers usually start off looking to buy a smallish home.  But once they get their confidence up, many move right up, often to a quite large home.  And mostly they all come here for the same reasons.  As my wife likes to say “We used to live on a lake in New Hampshire but shoveling snow, raking the leaves and mowing the lawns became such a burden that we ended up in Englewood.”

Even though our parents hated the concept of moving, when I was getting out of college, IBM meant “I’ve Been Moved”.  People who worked for the giant computer maker were certain they would be asked to move every 2 or 3 years.  And while I never worked for IBM, we’ve moved—on average—about every 5 years.  So to me moving is just something you do.  We have tables that have four or five stickers on the underside—from all the different moving companies we’ve used.  Back in the day, most people lived and died in the same house they grew up in.  The fact that someone would stay in their old house today with the stairs and all those extra rooms plus icy sidewalks and heating fuel costing megabucks no longer makes sense.

With our population living longer and finding more and more satisfying things to do in their latter years, the house they raised their kids in--cold in the winter, hot in the summer—well, why wouldn’t they want to get out?  Now we’re begining to see a huge explosion of people saying, “Let’s do something different.  Let’s find a home where we can swim or walk or garden year ‘round—we can keep in touch with the kids by phone or Skype.”  And like so many of these youngish retirees, they also say, "our kids will be happy to visit us in Florida."

That’s why one of my biggest disappointments is when a couple comes to look at homes and may even find one they like.  But then a health issue arises and the opportunity to actually make the move is lost. 
My wife and I both saw our mothers wanting to have a retirement home, but both our fathers were stubborn, and by the time dad had passed, mom was too old to make the change.  A study by MetLife indicates that by 2020, women between the ages of 65 to 74 will head one-third of households.

It's such a shame that when folks have been saving their whole life for a “rainy day”-- the rainy day is here and due to health, they can't seize the day. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of people who changed residences between 2010 and 2011—11.6 percent—was the lowest recorded rate since 1948.  But this number doesn’t consider the pent-up demand of families who wanted to move but couldn’t in this current recession.  As the economy improves, the senior niche market will begin an upswing that should become a huge boom. 
Dane Hahn is a real estate professional practicing in the Englewood area.  He can be reached at or 941-681-0312.  You can see him on the web at

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