November 10, 2016
The Luxury Apartment Boom(ers)
It used to be that once the kids left home, empty nesters looking to downsize from their hard-to-maintain family home would look to buying a smaller house. But that’s changing. There’s now a growing segment that is opting to do something different – rent.
The Allure of Renting
In the US, a recent Freddie Mac 55+ Survey noted that an estimated 6 million homeowners and nearly as many renters prefer to move again and rent at some point. Of those homeowners and renters that expect to move again, over 5 million indicate they are likely to rent by 2020. As well, among those 55+ renters who plan to move again, 71 percent of respondents plan to rent their next home. Here’s the interesting part, many of these rental-bound boomers are renters by choice, as 38 percent say they have enough extra money to go beyond each payday including for savings.
Here in Canada, over the past 50 years, the average age of the Canadian population has been on the increase. People aged 65 and over have more than doubled in number in the past 35 years. And, it appears that boomers are looking to the luxury rental market here as well.
Marketing to Empty Nesters
After having the home with the picket fence on the quiet leafy street, boomers are now eying a new way of living: like urban millennials.
The appeal of a well-maintained multifamily building, with lots of amenities and not a lawn to mow, is drawing empty nesters to find their freedom in a luxury condo or high-end apartment. Especially one that is within walking distance of restaurants and entertainment options.
So how does this play out when marketing to this segment of the population? In advertising and during site visits here are some of the things that resonate with boomers.
Amenities: This new era of luxury seeking boomers want to feel like everyday is a vacation day. Promote amenities like a pool, rooftop deck, on-site health club or pet-walking services. Be sure to mention any on-site concierge who can accept grocery deliveries, make a dinner reservation or let in the repairperson when no one is home.
Storage Space: Empty nesters do expect to downsize, but they also have a lifetime of possessions. Features like roomy closets, extra locker space and built-in cabinets are highly appealing to the 50+ crowd.
Carefree Living: Property marketers would be wise to stress the hassle-free lifestyle of condo or apartment living. There are no leaves to rake, no roofs to replace and not a care in the world. Unit repairs simply require a quick call or online request to maintenance.
Community & Leisure: Now that the kids are gone, priorities shift and empty nesters are looking for a vibrant community, like organized trips to local galleries, game night or monthly wine tastings. Additionally, showcase your apartment as being in the centre of it all, with nearby restaurants, theatres and leisure activities within walking distance.
Convenience: Just like their millennial and Gen-Z kids, boomers don’t want to write out cheques, or call the office during business hours to report a burnt-out light bulb in the hallway. These older generation folks are just as hip to technology like smartphones, thank-you-very-much. Promote your online portals for communication, rent payments and maintenance requests.
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