Boomers surveyed about retirement plans

National Association of Realtors® Surveys Boomers about retirement and housing plans

November 16, 2000 – The roughly 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 were surveyed by Harris Interactive in a study commissioned by the National Association of Realtors®. According to the Associations chief economist, David Lereah, baby boomers "are living longer and are different from previous generations because they have no set path for retirement and have more varied circumstances in life."

Many boomers will work past traditional retirement age because they married and had children later than previous generations did, Lereah said. Older boomers are thinking about retiring, but go between leisure periods and part-time jobs. "Just over a quarter of the boomer generation is aged 55 to 60, which is when many people traditionally begin to focus on their retirement plans," Lereah said, "but analysis of the survey suggests they are more likely to stay in the workforce longer and will be less likely to downsize than previous generations – the leading edge of the boomer generation is the key to future housing impact."

U.S. Census data indicate that most boomers live in two-income households, with a median income in 2005 of $64,700, 31% higher than the median for all households. This generation makes up 37.5% of U.S. households, census data say, but receives nearly half of all aggregate household income. Of baby boomers earning $100,000 or more, more than 90% are homeowners. Among middle-income boomer homeowners, home equity accounts for fully half their net worth.

A quarter of baby boomers own one or more other kinds of real estate in addition to a primary residence, the survey said: 13% own land; 8% own rental property; 7%, a vacation home or seasonally occupied property; 2%, commercial real estate; and 3%, some other kind of real estate.

Four our of 10 respondents said they intend to convert their vacation home into a primary residence in retirement. Analysis by the Realtors’ group shows baby boomers are proportionately more active in the second-home market, owning 57% of all vacation/seasonal homes and 58% of rental property.

Ten percent of the boomers responding to the survey indicated they plan to buy some form of real estate within the next year, which corresponds with U.S. Census data that show 3.5 million boomer households moved during the last year. Two-thirds said they were considering a primary residence, but the rest were thinking about land, second homes, or commercial property.


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