As baby boomers approach the longest unencumbered time of their lives, their desire is not to slow down, but to reset, recharge, and re-engage
By TOM MITCHELL
Meeting the underserved needs and demands of today’s baby boomers. Eight trillion dollars, or almost two-thirds of the nation’s home equity, is held by the 75 million people who comprise the boomer generation.While 50 percent of these new home shoppers over the age of 55 would consider living in an age-restricted community, research shows that 53 percent of them cannot find the kind of compelling and vital community they desire.
This represents a golden opportunity for builders to develop communities that attract these buyers, but to do so in a way that introduces a diverse home and community aesthetic, focuses on delivering centrally-located communities, and offers active and social atmospheres. We have developed the following strategies and approaches to meet the demand for this vaunted homebuying demographic.
New, forward-looking designs
We have found that single-level homes are most desirable for our 55+ homebuyers. We define single-level living as a single-family detached home, oftentimes with optional second-story guest bedrooms, hobby/loft spaces, or as stacked single-level flats or townhomes, oftentimes elevator-served. Boomers also desire more flexible room options, including multi-generational suites, dual owner’s suites, covered outdoor living rooms, and ample storage space for treasured possessions despite a home with smaller square footage.
Boomers moving from their previous homes are also comfortable with a smaller footprint if it aligns with their budget, requires less maintenance, and provides financial freedom to still enjoy other experiences on their bucket list. However, boomers still want larger entertaining kitchens and great room areas, guest suites, and outdoor living. Aging in place, or universal design, is obviously a huge component of a new home, which includes ease of living with owner’s suite, great room, and kitchen all on the same floor.
Community building, and active and social amenities
While some Boomers are following the traditional path of retirement, many are continuing to work full-time, enjoy encore careers, or are moving to be close to vibrant locations near jobs and family that will provide them with opportunities to continue working while being actively involved with their children/grandchildren. A community living environment gives them options to live an adventurous and social lifestyle, all at their doorsteps. With placemaking as a theme, we differentiate our communities to provide meaningful connectivity between residents, the local community, and the surrounding region.
Our strategy is to offer a boutique experience across our premium builder brands. We strive to resist boomer stereotypes, and instead, look for meaningful connectivity within each community, elevate and localize home design, and create opportunities for engagement with activities and experiences that are a continuation of the boomer generation’s pioneering spirit.
Some of the most desirable offerings for residents include modern clubhouses and community clubs, movement studios, yoga lawns, lap pools, connection to trails and parks that provide activity, and catering to today’s baby boomer consumers’ desire to live near thriving job markets, entertainment, and family.
Life360™: A new approach
At TRI Pointe Group, we have created a holistic, branded approach, Life360™, that emphasizes four components – vitality, adventure, connectivity, and style – to capitalize on the size of the baby boomer market and tap into the need to find and build community.
Our Life360™ platform leverages our large-scale resources while tapping into the local expertise and relationships of our regional builder brands to create communities carefully optimized for baby boomer living. We provide value to the market by carefully evaluating and delivering both age-targeted and age-restricted neighborhoods with a variety of home sizes, designs, and amenities in desirable locations.
Developing both age-targeted and age-restricted communities – oftentimes with age-restricted communities that are adjacent to or within all-age masterplans – allows boomers to be near family and wider age groups while still benefiting from exclusive amenities.
Our Life360™ approach honors the individuality of baby boomers while also delivering meticulously-crafted homes and experiences that will allow them to live an adventurous and social lifestyle, all at their doorstep.
As baby boomers approach the longest unencumbered time of their lives, their desire is not to slow down, but to reset, recharge, and re-engage. This is a departure from the path their parents typically took and reflects this generation’s wide-ranging tastes and needs in all aspects of life, including what they desire in a home and a community, and one we are fully prepared to meet.
Tom Mitchell is President and COO, TRI Pointe Group. He may be reached at www.tripointegroup.com