Gen X is already looking for housing appropriate for aging in place

Baby boomers are exhibiting an overwhelming desire to age in place in their own homes, but their children — largely members of Generation X — are also making their desires felt by seeking out homes that can accommodate their needs as they get older, according to a recent report from the New York Times.

Citing 2021 data from the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies that showed 88% of adults 65 and older are aging in place, many members of the following generation — primarily born between the mid-1960s and early-1980s — are already taking proactive steps to by thinking “about where they will live in their 70s, 80s and even 90s,” the Times reported.

Homebuilders are observing a rise in demand for homes that can accommodate natural aging from Gen X buyers. David O’Reilly, CEO of Howard Hughes Holdings which constructs planned communities, describes the market being “at the cusp,” saying that the demand appears to be coinciding with more members of Gen X nearing a time where they will become “empty nesters.”

“That’s normally the tipping point,” O’Reilly told the Times.

Gen X buyers are also more likely to have more financial means and control over their potential options, and are keeping access to necessary later-life services in mind when choosing where to live as they get older, the story explained.

“In new developments, [Gen X buyers] are seeking access to health and wellness amenities, like hiking trails and tennis courts, as well as opting for home features like showers instead of bathtubs, for instance, and asking for the latest gadgets to help them as they age,” the reporting said.

A report released last week by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said that Gen X homebuyers have a median income of $126,900, and are still years away from retirement. That additional working time will allow them to amass further wealth according to Jessica Lautz, deputy chief economist and vice president of research at NAR.

Members of Gen X are also benefiting from the pandemic and post-pandemic run-up in home prices, carrying significantly more home equity than their millennial counterparts and dwarfing millennial homeownership rates 72% to 55% as of 2023.

One analyst said that Gen X buyers are motivated to act now for aging-appropriate housing due to the state of the housing market.

“If they are shopping for homes, given the tightness of the market and remote work, I do believe you see more Gen X-ers seeing a home purchase as a home for the rest of their lives,” said Cristian deRitis, deputy chief economist at Moody’s Analytics to the Times.

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