Garages and Grandkids: What Baby Boomers Want in their Next Home

Del Webb Baby Boomer Survey Shows 38 percent Looking to Buy Within the Next 3 Years, Looking to Retire Earlier

PALM COAST, FL  – October 17, 2017 – Not only are baby boomers planning to retire at an earlier age, but they want their next home in retirement to be near their grandchildren with the number one home feature being a multi-car garage with plenty of storage, according to the latest Del Webb Baby Boomer Survey.

Source: Pulte GroupSponsored by national homebuilder, PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE:PHM), the Del Webb Baby Boomer Survey explored homebuying habits of the 55+ buyer. The Company has conducted more than 11 Baby Boomer surveys since 1996. Historic data shows that the age at which baby boomers expect to retire lowered from 65 in 2013 to 63.7 in the 2017 survey. When asked when they would consider purchasing a home, 38 percent of baby boomers indicated it would be within the next three years, with 11 percent looking to purchase within the year. This was primarily driven by retirement (39 percent), followed by the need to downsize (33 percent), and the desire to move to a better location (30 percent).

“Retirement marks a new phase in a baby boomer’s life, and it only seems natural to relocate or move to a new home when transitioning away from their primary career, or from the day-to-day rearing of school aged children,” says Jay Mason, vice president of market intelligence for PulteGroup. “Whether they are selling the homes where they raised their children and heading to sunnier pastures, or staying near their hometown, it’s not surprising that the 55+ buyer wants a variety of options and choices in their homes.”

PulteGroup has been surveying the 50 and older demographic for more than 15 years, seeking to better understand the attitudes and opinions of this generation.  The diverse definitions of retirement reflect the diversity of the baby boomer generation and are evident in the variety of community sizes, types and locations across the nation
Highlights of this year’s survey results:

  • 39 percent of baby boomers indicate retirement is the primary reason for purchasing their next home
  • 11 percent of baby boomers are looking to buy their next home within the year
  • Florida remains a top destination for retirement, followed by Arizona and the Carolinas
  • The top three community amenities that baby boomers want in their next home’s location: grandkids, access to water and plenty of park/open space
  • Cost of living is the top consideration for the location of baby boomer’s next homes in retirement
  • Baby boomers expect to retire at the age of 63.7 – a decrease from 65 years of age last surveyed in 2013

Staying Close or Moving Far? 
For today’s 80 million boomers, the choices vary on where to spend their retirement years. Some choose to retire in place, potentially, near family and grandchildren with 26 percent wanting to be in the same city they currently live and 34 percent moving within the same state, but a different city/town. Alternatively, some consumers seek warmer climates such as those found in Arizona and Florida with 38 percent of boomers wanting to move to a different state.

Longtime residents of Southern California, Ellen and Kirk Krogman, both 58 who retired in 2015, are a perfect example of retirees who made the move in retirement to be closer to family, but also wanted the warmer climate so they are doing both. 

“We were raised in Southern California and moved to Iowa to spend time with family after retirement. When we moved to Iowa, we knew we would want a second place to spend our winters, so we began looking in Texas, New Mexico, Southern California, and Arizona,” says Ellen who was a public school teacher and administrator.

The couple recently purchased a home at Sun City Festival about an hour from Phoenix, Arizona. “Our new place in Sun City is so gorgeous and there is so much to do. We are now looking forward to being full time residents in the next year or two. I am looking forward to joining several of the clubs, like the hiking and photography clubs. Most of all, we can’t wait to meet new friends and develop new interests. Sun City Festival seems like the perfect place to fulfill those dreams.”

According to the Del Webb Baby Boomer Survey, 28 percent indicated that Florida is their preferred destination for retirement, followed Arizona (11 percent), Carolinas (9 percent), Texas (7 percent) and California (5 percent). PulteGroup and Del Webb currently has 50+ communities open for sales throughout the country.

Baby Boomers Want their Grandkids Nearby, and Garages for Storage
When asked about their must-have features in their next home in retirement, baby boomers indicated the top five are: multi-car garage with storage, open deck or patio, open floor plan, eat-in kitchen and small, private yard.

Additionally, 30 percent of baby boomers ranked grandchildren as the number one community amenity they want within walking distance of their next home, followed by access to water – a beach, river or lake (24 percent) and park or green open space (20 percent).

“Having grandchildren nearby was a surprise as previous Del Webb surveys have shown that having grandchildren nearby in retirement wasn’t a priority,” says Mason. “The desire to nurture the grandchildren-to-grandparent connection appears to be strengthening between baby boomers and the millennial generation, who also have a strong desire to be near aging parents.”

Cost of Living and Healthcare Outweigh Boomer’s Home Location
Among Baby Boomers looking to move, the most important factors in deciding where to relocate weighed heavily towards an area’s cost of living and access to preferred healthcare programs, 82 percent and 74 percent – these two factors have maintained their status as the most important factors throughout all the Del Webb surveys.

About the PGHI Survey
The PulteGroup Home Index Survey polled U.S. adults to evaluate the similarities and differences in attitudes, needs, aspirations, and behavior between Millennials and Baby Boomers when purchasing a new home.  The survey was conducted online by Russell Research from February 8 – 13, 2017 among 2,071 adults, comprised of 1,028 Millennials between the ages of 22-36 and 1,043 Baby Boomers between the ages of 50-65, with all survey respondents indicating they intend to purchase a new home in the next 10 years.  At a 95 percent confidence level, a margin of sample error of +/- 3.1% applies to each generation in the sample.  Figures for gender and geography were weighted where necessary to match their actual proportions in the population.

Toby Tobin: REALTOR®, SRES®

I am a REALTOR® licensed by the State of Florida and Seniors Real Estate Specialist, SRES®, with Grand Living Realty, now helping fellow aged 50+ buyers and sellers achieve improved outcomes in real estate transactions by integrating them with other age-related decisions/plans through my broad network of respected service providers; financial, wills, trusts, probate, insurance, healthcare, home services, recreation, lifestyle, estate planning, and adult living facilities.

Take advantage of my "Been there. Done that." experience, typically at no additional cost to you. Call me at (386) 931-7124 or email me at

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