Approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers have turned 65 every day since 2011 and will continue to do so until 2030, according to data from the Pew Research Center. The aging population is anticipated to have a sweeping impact across various aspects of society – from healthcare to the economy. One particular sector set for major change in the near and far-off future is the residential property management market.
Let’s take a closer look at what we can expect to see, along with key takeaways for residential property managers.
Move Over, Millennials
According to recent findings from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the number of households age 70 and over is expected to skyrocket by more than 8 million – or 40 percent – between 2015 and 2025. And while a significant amount of buzz surrounds the perception that home ownership-resistant Millennials are driving the rental market, this may not be entirely accurate given additional Joint Center for Housing Studies data revealing that more than half of today’s renters are in their 40s and older.
Says the report – “In mid-2015, 43 million families and individuals lived in rental housing; up nearly 9 million from 2005 – the largest gain in any 10-year period on record. While households in their 20s make up the single largest share [of renters], households aged 40 and over now account for a majority of all renters.”
Specifically, while the number of rentals to people under the age of 30 grew by one million units over the past decade, rentals to people in their 50s and 60s grew by 2.3 million and 2 million, respectively. All in all, people over the age of 50 percent made up 55 percent of the growth of the country’s rental population between 2005 and 2015 compared to just 11 percent gains for the under-30 set.
The big picture, as evidenced by the data? “This growth reflects the aging baby boomer renters (born 1946-1964), as well as declines in home ownership rates among this generation. While the conventional image of renters is groups of young, unrelated adults living together, these types of non-family households make up a relatively small share of all renters, and their numbers have grown only modestly in the past 10 years.”
Key Takeaways for Property Managers
Certainly, the conversation about the housing needs of Millennials is a loud one, with factors like location, space for entertaining, eco-friendly features, access to outdoor recreation, and technology topping the list of Millennial wants and needs. But, as indicated by the previous statistics, property managers who focus their attention exclusively on courting this demographic may be missing out on a major portion of the renting population.
This is further highlighted by a recent joint report from the AARP Foundation and the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies pointing out that just under 20 million older adults in the U.S. live in “unaffordable and unsafe” housing which lacks key features like stair-free entries, accessible counter-tops, over-sized doorways, and senior-friendly bathroom designs. In fact, a mere one percent of the country’s entire housing inventory currently supports the “aging in place” movement.
But it’s not all about needs. Considering that many seniors also have more disposable income than their younger counterparts, Baby Boomers can also be more discerning when it comes to seeking out their dream homes. So while they may be downsizing in square footage, they may be up-sizing in other areas, including everything from modern appliances and high-end finishes to open concept floor plans and single-level living. In other words, they’re prioritizing customizable housing options which aren’t just about living, but about living well.
One last thing to keep in mind -offering the amenities and features renters are looking for is just one part of successful property management. Another is communicating with each resident in the optimal way – whether that means by phone call, email, text or social media. But it’s not just about how you communicate with residents, either. What is also important is sending a relevant message which adds value to the lives of your residents. Anything else risks becoming seen as a nuisance.
Lisa Eifert is Marketing Director at One Call Now. Reprinted with permission of Multifamily Insiders – www.multifamilyinsiders.com.