KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Apr 19 2011

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The next wave of homeowners is coming. Should you be worried?

There’s some interesting information in the Joint Center for Housing Studies Harvard University’s report on “Housing Turnover by Older Owners: Implications for Home Improvement Spending as Baby Boomers Age into Retirement,” released in March.

According to the report, older homeowners (age 55+) accounted for about one third of housing turnover in the U.S. between 1997 and 2007, with the numbers only expected to increase as the Baby Boomer generation grows older.

“The older sellers are not likely to undertake major high-ticket projects like kitchen or bath remodels just to sell a house,” the report states. “Those projects are more likely to be undertaken by younger sellers who had planned to live in the home.”

Read for next generation
The ever-increasing age of the housing stock (the median age of owner-occupied homes was 29 years in 1997 and increased to 32 years by 2007) and the sales of the homes to the next generation of young homeowners are poised to create a growing demand for home improvement in the coming years.

Certainly, I’m seeing it here, in 30-year-old subdivisions where my 30- and 40-something clients are completely revamping and upgrading the entire home before they even move in. The difference in the amount of the remodeling investment is directly related to the number of years the new homeowners are planning to live in the home.

The report adds, “In addition to spending more on remodeling, buyers are more likely to spend a greater share of their remodeling dollars on kitchens and baths and on other interior additions/replacements.”

We’ve all heard that the Baby Boomer generation was the “do-it-for-me” generation and that the next homeowners are the “do-it-yourself” generation. Should you be concerned that the next generation won’t be coming to designers for advice?

I believe it’s the opposite. Given that kitchens and baths have become so custom, this next wave of homeowners are discovering that designing isn’t as easy as it looks. As a DIY homeowner in the showroom last week told me, “Kitchen design is hard! No one told me it would be this hard!”

You can find the online copy of the report at JCHSHU: Masnick, G., Abbe, W., & Baker, K. “Housing Turnover by Older Owners: Implications for Home Improvement Spending as Baby Boomers Age into Retirement.” © 2011

Until next time,


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