Baby Boomers Staying In Their Homes Longer Some Even Upsizing

Baby Boomers Staying In Their Homes Longer Some Are Even Upsizing

Baby Boomers

In recent years, a surprising trend has emerged within the real estate market: baby boomers, once anticipated to downsize en masse, are instead choosing to stay put in their family homes or even purchasing larger properties. This shift is reshaping the housing market and challenging our assumptions about retirement and lifestyle choices among the older generation. Baby boomer homeowners are now staying in their current home for a number of reasons and circumstances. The number of bedrooms and square feet does not appear to be affecting their decision which in some cases is being brought out of necessity rather than desire. There is however no one size fits all model when it comes to older adults who are at or near retirement age. Health concerns can often decide that a large home with a inappropriate floor plan means opting to stay is not an option. Personal finance, affordability, mortgage debt can put some recent retirees in a position where they just cannot afford to move, they may want to downsize but are unable in their current position.

The Myth of Baby Boomers Downsizing


The narrative that dominated real estate forecasts for years posited that as baby boomers aged and payed off their mortgage, a significant shift toward downsizing would naturally follow. This belief was rooted in logical assumptions: older adults, seeking to simplify their lives, would opt for smaller, more manageable living spaces. Yet, as this demographic transitioned into retirement, the reality has painted a different picture, challenging the very foundations of the downsizing myth.

Reevaluating the Downsizing Premise

1. Emotional and Lifestyle Anchors: The decision to remain in larger family homes is deeply intertwined with emotional connections and lifestyle preferences. Many baby boomers find their identity and comfort in the homes where they raised families, celebrated milestones, and navigated life's ups and downs. The prospect of leaving behind these memory-laden spaces for the sake of convenience or practicality is less appealing than previously imagined. Moreover, retirement for this generation doesn't signify a winding down but rather an opportunity to engage more fully with hobbies, social activities, and family, necessitating spaces that accommodate these pursuits.

2. Financial Realities and Opportunities: Contrary to the stereotype of the financially vulnerable retiree, a significant portion of the baby boomer generation has amassed substantial wealth, including home equity. This financial cushion allows them the luxury of choice, with many opting to invest in home modifications that enable aging in place or even purchasing second homes rather than downsizing. The economic downturns and housing market fluctuations have also taught this cohort the value of real estate as a long-term investment, further disincentivizing the sell-off of family homes.

3. The Rise of Multi-Generational Households: The last few decades have seen a resurgence in multi-generational living, with baby boomers often at the nexus of these extended family networks. Whether accommodating aging parents or providing a landing pad for adult children in transitional life phases, the need for space has grown. Downsizing in such a context not only becomes impractical but counter to the emerging family dynamics that prioritize togetherness and support across generations.

4. A Shift in Market Dynamics: The anticipated flood of large family homes onto the market has not occurred, in part due to the boomers' reluctance to downsize. This has had ripple effects across the housing market, contributing to inventory shortages and impacting first-time homebuyers and families looking to upsize. The myth of downsizing, in failing to materialize, underscores the unpredictability of market dynamics and the need for flexible housing solutions that can adapt to changing demographic trends.

The Broader Implications For Upsizing


The debunking of the downsizing myth has significant implications for urban planning, housing policy, and the real estate market. It calls for a rethinking of housing stock diversity, community services, and infrastructure to support aging in place. It also highlights the need for innovative housing solutions that cater to the desires and needs of a generation that is redefining what it means to grow older.

Active Lifestyles and Luxury Living: Redefining Retirement

The baby boomer generation is redefining retirement, shattering the old stereotypes of a sedentary lifestyle with a dynamic and active approach to their golden years. This shift is not only about staying physically active but also about indulging in luxury living that complements their desire for a vibrant, fulfilling life. This pursuit of active lifestyles and luxury living is significantly influencing their housing decisions, leading many to rethink the idea of downsizing in favor of homes that cater to their sophisticated tastes and energetic ways of life.

Embracing Active Lifestyles

1. Health and Wellness: Today's retirees are more health-conscious than ever, prioritizing physical fitness and wellness as key components of their daily routines. Homes with space for home gyms, yoga studios, and easy access to outdoor activities like golf, tennis, and cycling are highly sought after. This emphasis on health and wellness supports the desire for larger homes where such amenities can be comfortably accommodated.

2. Hobbies and Passions: Retirement opens up the opportunity to pursue hobbies and passions with newfound fervor. Whether it's art, gardening, woodworking, or collecting, dedicated spaces for these activities are a must-have for many boomers. Upsizing or modifying existing homes to include workshops, studios, or expansive gardens allows them to immerse themselves in their interests without constraint.

Pursuing Luxury Living

1. High-End Amenities: The quest for luxury living is about more than just opulence; it's about comfort, convenience, and experiencing the finer things in life. Modern retirees are looking for homes with gourmet kitchens, spa-like bathrooms, and custom design features that offer a sense of exclusivity and personalization. These preferences lean towards maintaining or acquiring properties that provide these luxurious amenities.

2. Smart Home Features: Technology plays a pivotal role in the luxury living equation, with smart home features becoming a standard expectation. Automated lighting, security systems, climate control, and entertainment systems not only provide convenience and safety but also add an element of sophistication to the home. Baby boomers are increasingly attracted to homes that can integrate these technologies seamlessly, enhancing their living experience.

Smart Home

3. Community and Social Engagement: Luxury living extends beyond the confines of the home into the broader community. Many baby boomers are drawn to upscale neighborhoods that offer a sense of community and opportunities for social engagement. Gated communities, golf course homes, and luxury condominiums with clubhouses, pools, and social events cater to this desire for an active, community-oriented lifestyle.

The Impact on Housing Choices

The combination of active lifestyles and luxury living preferences is leading many baby boomers to opt for homes that can support this dynamic phase of life. Rather than downsizing, they are choosing to invest in properties that offer the space, amenities, and lifestyle they seek. For some, this means renovating their current homes to meet these criteria; for others, it involves purchasing new properties that tick all the boxes.


The myth of downsizing among baby boomers has been challenged by a complex interplay of emotional, financial, and familial factors. As this generation continues to navigate retirement, their housing choices are reshaping the real estate landscape, prompting a reevaluation of assumptions about aging, living spaces, and community needs. The future of housing for older adults may not lie in downsizing but in diversifying and adapting homes to meet the rich tapestry of needs and desires that define this vibrant stage of life.

This post is brought to you by David O'Doherty, a licensed real estate agent since 2007 helping buyers and sellers in the Greater Raleigh Area of North Carolina. He is committed to providing his clients with exceptional service and personalized attention throughout every step of the real estate process. If you're looking to buy or sell a property in Raleigh or the surrounding areas or have any questions about the local real estate market, don't hesitate to contact David O'Doherty today. Call or Text (919) 601-2268 or email [email protected]

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