2011 is the first year that that over 400,000 baby boomers a year turn 65. The impact of this shift will be far reaching. Although Calgary is a young city in comparison to others we will also see an impact.
I am already working with a few folks reaching retirement that are looking to downsize from large family homes to something that suits their future needs. The hard part is defining what that looks like. Not everyone is ready to go from 2400+ sq feet in a private residence to a 900 sq ft condo. In fact, many are actively looking to keep a private residence, but maybe one where the snow is cleared or there is a greater sense of community and access to amenities.
Commute to work is no longer a priority, but a short trip to visit grandchildren is now high on the list. Homes need to be of quality construction as that is what these folks are used to and would accept nothing less. Homes also have to be designed for being home all day and provide the light, appropriate layout and access to make day to day living comfortable. This package in the right price point is not something that is in vast numbers on market.
The other side of the coin is that I am seeing more families looking for homes that can accommodate both their children as well as their own parent(s). Whether due to health reasons, childcare or economics, more families are looking at options as they begin to care both for their children and their parents. The sandwich generation is growing too.
While some folks are looking to specialize in working with an older demographic, I don’t see it all too different. It is still providing exceptional service to help folks figure out what they need and introduce them to what is available on market. It is being honest about the current value of their home so they can make productive decisions and working with them to prepare in a way that makes the transition easier. Whether it is taking the time to downsize belongings first, identifying required upgrades, finding just the right new home or even working with family to connect folks with the right experts to manage family affairs, it is all part of the process.
A thought to builders and designers: If you are building beautiful bungalows and villas, consider parking and stairs. I have had a number of folks turn their backs on new construction because access wasn’t well considered. This is Calgary after all. And don’t forget that these folks may have downsized, but they now have their family and grandchildren to host for dinner. While many folks no longer prize a large dining room, many baby boomers focus on family and hosting those they love. They want to enjoy a meal without seeing the dishes. 🙂
If you or your family are looking for your new home, give me a call. I am happy to help.
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