Boomers Love Real Estate

June 11, 2002

Where Are They Going Next?

Inman News Features

Baby boomers have been driving the real estate market hard for nearly 30 years. They inspired the garden apartment, which was their break to independence, the sexual revolution and lifestyle living.

Then, the condominium offered the boomers a way to own that lifestyle, and later they led consumer demand for suburban sprawl as they moved their consumption lifestyle to the soccer fields, the prized public schools and the shopping malls.

With business parks, boomers put their jobs in the 'burbs, and then moved to lofts, live-work space and country club resorts. Boomers have acquired a new appreciation for architecture as they pig out on property, fashioning the $100,000 kitchen and master bedroom suites that are larger than Ralph Cranden?s studio apartment in the popular 1950s Honeymooners television series .

The average size of a new home in 1950 was only 900 square feet while the average size of the American family was 4.2. Today, the average size of a new home is 2,000 square feet and the average family has 2.6 people.

The SUV generation also prompted houses that we could drive into and wiring that required six jacks for phone lines, digital entry, cable access, fax lines and every other technological innovation that might be around the corner. A room for every child was not enough, now a bathroom, a computer, a telephone and television for each and every kid have become the new standard.

The latte crowd loves their real estate. They love to buy it, trade it, refinance it and sell it. It is their most visible symbol of success and net worth. A whole new generation of financial schemes were created to finance their appetite for property --- the ARM, the tax-deferred exchange, the 120 percent loan, the zero down mortgage and twice annual refinancing events.

Real estate on the Internet was made for this generation of property moguls who not only use the Web to fantasize about their next home purchase, but to figure out how to make it easier, less costly and promise a bigger return on their investment.

This generation of real estate brats made an entire industry of Realtors, builders and bankers fabulously rich. Without the boomers, the industry would still be working out of one-room shacks peddling real estate for a few small new home developments at the fringe of town.

Now, the boomers are cavalcading into their most prosperous period of life. The wealthiest generation ever to populate the earth is ready to make its next real estate plunge. With big inheritance money coming in, an inevitable loosening up of 401k money and a general state of wealth, boomers are poised to buy more property.

What will they buy? What is the name for the next condo, loft or garden apartment?

Where will they buy and why? The city, the country, resorts, communal rural camps, high rises? How many will stay put, how many will enjoy just one home while others buy several? How mobile and transient will we be with our homes in the future and how will we finance our next property foray?

Starting with a major presentation at Real Estate Connect by Bradley Inman, Inman News will take an in depth look at "Where next for the Boomers?"

Get ready for this fascinating look into the future of real estate.

Copyright: Inman News Service

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