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Housing That Suits Baby Boomers

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When it comes to living quarters in Northeast Florida, the needs and desires of those people born between 1946 and 1964, are as varied as the "Baby Boomers" themselves.

Boomers are considering not just how to age but also where. Many want housing that affords them more free time.

Daniel Davis, the executive director of the Northeast Florida Builders Association, says the market shows Boomers more interested in an active lifestyle. Whether finishing out their career or retiring, they want efficient homes that will allow them to do other things.

“We have a ton of natural resources in our community that I think people like to enjoy, and what we're seeing when baby boomers move here is they like to be active and outside and they don't want to be spending all their time upkeeping and maintaining their house," he said. "So we're seeing a lot of efficiencies in the people that want to buy the house and making it where they can go and enjoy our natural resources in northeast Florida."

Northeast Florida is leading the state with the number of building permits pulled for renovations and new housing. In the past two years, the number of permits has doubled and Davis attributes that to the number of boomers moving to or staying in this area versus others. Much of it is due to many Boomers deciding to “age in place” and remodel kitchen or baths with upgrades.

Builder Dennis Ginder of Landon Homes gets feedback from realtors about what to build.  At a home in Verano at Bartram Park, he points out features that boomers are looking for: raised vanities, taller countertops and lower tubs.

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New housing in the Bartram area of Jacksonville

Analysts of the  Pew Research Center say there’s an increase in multigenerational households, where boomers may be taking in their aging parents… or their adult children (“boomerangs,” as they're called) who are moving back in. In response to that trend, Lennar is building theNext Gen home, a so-called “home within a home” to meet the needs of families who want to share the cost of their mortgage and other living expenses. The Next Gen home, which is available in the Jacksonville area, is meant for housing long-term guests or family members and has a complete suite attached to the main house; a private bedroom, eat-in kitchenette and living room.

The housing of Baby Boomers reflects their needs, their resources and their personal desires as they experience “the other side of 50.”

Barry Steinberg, a Boomer who’s lived in Jacksonville for 15 years and works at the University of Florida, has enlisted the help of local Watson Realty to help him find a larger lot.

“It’s sort of interesting;  it goes both directions," he said. "I think as people age they want more simplicity…and not have so much of a place to take care of, but then there’s people like me who go the other direction  so there is a flux, but it's going in both directions."

He’s leaving his gated community, where he was in close proximity to his neighbors, and heading for a more rural area of northeast Florida.   

It’s his desire, at this time of his life, is to have more space to spread out, enjoy the land and give his dogs a chance to run.