Pets and Packages

Baby Boomers and Millennials share similar priorities.

Mosher_DThe desire to age in place remains strong, but before they arrive at that age many Americans do downsize to a smaller housing footprint when their children leave the nest. New college graduates are actually finding work these days and starting their own households, so there’s nothing preventing Mom and Dad from moving to a condo or—better yet—an apartment with a view in one of the hip new rentals downtown.

The ability to reduce housing expenses as well as weekend chores make this decision a no brainer for many empty nesters ready to ramp up their social lives. In-unit laundry facilities, outdoor spaces for socializing, a package room and a dog wash right on the premises head the list of must-have amenities for the Baby Boomer crowd.

Sound familiar?

Millennials have many of the same criteria on their own wish lists. So it makes sense to develop apartment communities with a range of units sizes and price points that will appeal to both groups. But is the 55+ crowd really moving to the urban core in the numbers that some developers and apartment industry experts have been claiming in recent years?

In our March 2015 cover story, MHN Contributing Editor Keith Loria talks to the industry to find out whether seniors are really moving back to the urban core as so many developers and architects would have us believe.

According to Jeannette Chapman at the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis, this is one of those cases where the data hasn’t really caught up to reality because the most recent data that people are making observations on comes from 2010. Also, according to Chapman, “certain data sets have income numbers, but if you’re retired, it doesn’t necessarily capture net wealth, so it’s very difficult to pull out who’s moving because they can, as opposed to who’s downsizing or who’s moving because housing costs have gone up more and they’re moving to the suburbs because it’s a relatively cheaper option.”

Regardless of the data and the growing debate, a number of developers firmly believe that seniors are becoming more prevalent in the urban core, and so they’ll continue to meet the perceived growing demand for housing. Investors are looking for opportunities in downtown districts with established activity centers, great walkability and transit options.

With these key elements in place—along with in-lobby dining options—pleasing all generations is a piece of cake.
Diana Mosher
Editorial Director