Homeowners have decided they’ve had enough of making do without. They’re pulling out their checkbooks and applying a generous amount of financial support to upgrades and remodeling. In fact, they’ve more than doubled the amount they spent from the previous year.
The biggest contributor to this is that homeowners are feeling more comfortable because they see higher homeowner equity and a general improvement in the real estate market.
Who’s spending the most?
It’s the biggest generation on each side of the spectrum.
- Millennials are dipping into their cash reserve because they tend to buy older—and cheaper—properties that need repairs. They go for the big repairs first, like the leaky roof.
- Boomers are spending even more. But, it’s more than about their financial ability. They have begun to think about aging in place.
The Boomer approach
Boomers will soon approach retirement. Many have decided that they’re not interested in downsizing or moving to a warmer place for their golden years. They want to stay right where they are. If they’re going to do that, they reason, it’s time to invest in making their homes a place where they can “age in place.”
While much of this has to do with making the interior safer and easier for aging people to navigate, the growing trend is for what’s known as “universal design.” These are upgrades and remodels that can be used by anyone, regardless of physical ability.
A new report by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies predicts that most of this remodeling activity will be for Boomers who live in older homes in the Northeast and Midwest. This age group will spend more than twice the amount that any other age group to remodel their homes.
Boomers typically own homes that were build 30 years ago or even earlier. These homes have few of the interior “universal design” amenities that will make them places where Boomers can age in place. Home exteriors are getting an equal amount of attention. Energy efficient roofs, windows and doors will extend fixed incomes.
The choice to age in place also means that there will be more of an emphasis on multigenerational activities at home. Boomers are looking for ways to add space. The obvious choice is to add extra living space for bedrooms by expanding the house. Other options include adding a multifunction garage with living quarters above it.
Entertainment will be important for them, too. Many Boomers are looking at turning their backyards into the retirement destination they’ll give up to remain in their own homes. Deck living and entertaining is high on their lists.
Talk to us about transforming your home into the place you’ll spend your retirement years.