Increased 55-Plus Demand: 3 Trends to Watch

Even if you realize the U.S. population is aging rapidly, statistics like this might still surprise you: About 10,000 people each day turn 651 and, by 2035, there will be more adults 65 years old and older than children - 78 million compared to 76.4 million.2

What does this mean for builders? The demand for new construction homes by people 55 years old and older should remain strong for many years to come.

Today’s older generations have more wealth than previous generations at this point in their lives, with baby boomers — who range from about 57 to 75 years old — holding 53%3 of the total wealth in the U.S. This means they can likely afford to purchase a new home in a 55-plus community that allows them to retire in comfort, if not luxury. In fact, a large, upscale 55-plus development in Florida was the fastest-growing metro area4 in the U.S. over the last 10 years.

Here are three trends influencing 55-plus consumers and what that could mean for your next project:

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Renting as an Option

Some 55-plus consumers might feel as though they’ve outgrown their previous home. Instead of paying for taxes and upkeep5 on a home that no longer meets their needs, they’d rather spend their money elsewhere. Renting allows them to focus on doing what they love — not maintaining a home.6 When choosing a home to rent, however, they need the right amenities.

One of the most desired features amongst 55-plus buyers7 is a modern kitchen that has new, stainless steel appliances. The Whirlpool Fingerprint Resistant Dishwasher with 3rd Rack & Large Capacity, for example, has a beautiful stainless steel finish, and lets you load more and run less. Plus, it’s fingerprint resistant to help support a low-maintenance lifestyle.

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Upsizing Instead of Downsizing

The pandemic sparked more retirements from younger boomers and older Gen Xers: 2 million more people than expected8 have retired throughout the pandemic. While historically many 55-plus consumers have moved to smaller homes, many have chosen to upsize instead in recent years. According to a study by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave9, 49% of retirees didn’t downsize in their last move — 30% actually ended up moving into larger homes, while 19% stayed in the same-sized home.

Why are so many 55-plus buyers choosing to upsize? They’re wanting plenty of space10 for family members or friends to visit. When entertaining, these buyers may appreciate amenities that accommodate guests, like a separate undercounter fridge to chill adult beverages for happy hour, or a smart combination oven to help get dinner on the table.

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Fewer Children/More Living Alone

According to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau11, nearly 1 in 6 adults age 55 and older are childless. Those that are childless may be more likely to live in a single-family residence or townhome in a 55-plus community. They also might be more concerned about finding a new home that’s fully equipped with features that are easy to manage as they get older.

Accessibility12 is one of the main priorities for these buyers, especially as they age. The most important accessibility features more than 60% of buyers13 consider essential or desirable include:

  • Full bath on the main level
  • 3+ feet-wide doorways
  • 4+ feet-wide hallways
  • Non-slip floor surfaces
  • Entrances without steps

Other features that could help improve accessibility for older buyers include wall ovens that prevent users from having to bend over and lift heavy pans or dishes; motion-sensor lights; and touch-controlled drawers and cabinets.

For additional details about our appliance offerings, contact a sales rep today. Keep up with other trends and news in your industry by visiting The Trade Channel page.

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