Significant Remodeling Likely As Boomers Age

The turnover of housing units, especially as members of the Baby Boomer generation face retirement, has considerable implications for home-improvement spending as new occupants update or reconfigure homes to fit their needs, according to the Cambridge, Mass.-based Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) at Harvard University.

Because homes sold by older owners are older and typically more affordable, a majority are purchased by much younger buyers. The sale of older homes to younger households generates a particularly high level of home-improvement spending. Buyers under age 35 who purchased from a seller older than 55 spent more than 60 percent more on average in the two years after the sale than those purchasing homes from sellers under age 55, according to an article in the Winter 2011 JCHS newsletter.

Yet the housing turnover behavior of Baby Boomers will possibly differ from the recent experience of older sellers in previous decades. In particular, the mobility of Baby Boomers has been trending downward during the past two decades, suggesting more Boomers may choose to stay in their homes and age in place. For more information, visit Jchs.Harvard.edu.

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