With a national housing recovery under way, a distinct trend has emerged among baby boomers in the wake of the housing crisis: remodeling to age in place. The finding is according to a new report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.
“As baby boomers move into retirement, they are increasing demand for aging-in-place retrofits,” says Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center. “A decade ago, homeowners over 55 accounted for less than one third of all home improvement spending. By 2011, this share had already grown to over 45 percent. And generations behind the baby boomers will help fuel future spending growth since echo boomers are projected to outnumber baby boomers by more than twelve million as they begin to enter their peak remodeling years over the next decade.” Further bolstering remodeling potential is the buildup of distressed properties that will come back to the market as home values climb back toward their pre-crisis levels. “With about three million more foreclosures and short sales in the pipeline, there is even more such spending ahead of us,” says Eric S. Belsky, managing director of the Joint Center. The implications are “immense,” the Joint Center for Housing Studies notes, with the trend by older homeowners toward remodeling being followed only by the next population surge in the echo boom generation.
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