As Chicago-area baby boomers age, they’re tending to stay in their homes as long as they can. In the meantime, millennials are finding the metro area’s housing market offers fewer options than generations before them, and those they find often don’t suit their needs.
Baby boom generation stays put
It’s good news for everyone that aging is getting easier. After all, even millennials will eventually and hopefully get old too.
Baby boomers are much healthier and more independent than their parents were at the same age. Among the many reasons are that health care is better and advances in technology like hearing aids, mobility tools and telemedicine have kept older people self-sufficient longer.
Recent research by Freddie Mac estimates that if the baby boom generation’s housing patterns had resembled those of their parents, about 1.6 million homes that would have gone on the market by now instead of being held back. These help account for a big portion of the current 2.5 million home shortfall of housing units.
Despite tight market,buyers and sellers can’t connect
According to the Tribune, baby boomers are often investing in renovations suited to their needs instead of the market’s.
These sometimes-expensive modifications can include bathrooms with ample grab bars, ramps on the exterior or in the garage, wider hallways and doorways for wheelchair access, and electrical outlets raised to minimize bending (that is, raised to a toddler’s eye level).
Boomers are usually disappointed when they hope to recoup these investments with increased asking prices later on. Younger couples, including those with or considering young children, often see no value in these changes. Often, they see an immediate need to dip into their already slim resources to remove them.
Instead, these buyers are commonly looking for in-tact original vintage charm coupled with updated electrical and plumbing systems. They’re also often hoping for large trees and other high-maintenance landscaping.