Majority of Boomers Looking to Age in Place, Not Sell

A recent study from Chase, New York, and Pulsenomics, CITY, reports a majority of Baby Boomers plan to age in place rather than sell their homes, opting for home renovations to accommodate their needs.

A separate report from LendingTree, Charlotte, N.C., found these lengthening tenures have had noticeable effects on housing inventory and prices, particularly in the Northeast U.S.

The latest Chase/Pulsenomics Housing Confidence Survey found nearly nine in ten Boomer survey respondents are looking to make improvements to their current homes-“suggesting that they’re in it for the long haul,” said Amy Bonitatibus, Chief Marketing Officer for Chase Home Lending.

The study also showed more than half of Boomer respondents don’t expect to purchase a different home in the future, and that a substantial majority of them plan to tackle a home improvement project in the next three years. Additionally, the survey confirmed that bathroom renovations are their top project.

“A safe and easy to navigate bathroom is vital to an aging homeowner, and many of these features–large walk-in showers and natural lighting–are today’s popular design trends,” the report said.

Bonitatibus noted while Millennials are making headlines as the largest home buying group today, “Boomers are still flexing their economic muscles as an influential generation in the housing market,” with 10,000 people reaching retirement age each day.

“Nearly two-thirds of Baby Boomer respondents said home values are going up in their area,” Bonitatibus said. “With home prices generally healthy across the country, two-thirds of these homeowners are turning to financing options like home equity lines of credit or cash-out refinances to complete their upgrades. On average, homeowners are financing about $18,000 per household with more than half saying they intend to start remodeling within a year.”

The study said renter confidence dipped after four years of steady results, as a nationwide sub-index of renters’ homeownership aspirations fell to a record-low 56.5. Rising home values and an acute shortage of entry-level homes could have renters in some markets delaying their plans to buy.

The Housing Confidence Index measures individual households’ assessments of local real estate market conditions, their homeownership aspirations and their expectations regarding local home values and affordability. The largest jump in housing index measurements came from San Diego, Philadelphia and Boston. Each of these markets boasted a large increase in the confidence index since spring of this year, knocking the first quarter leader, Dallas, out of the top 10 list altogether, after four years of consistent optimism.

“Renters are most concerned that their income and savings will prove insufficient to afford homeownership right now,” said Terry Loebs, founder of Pulsenomics. “However, renters’ long-term outlook remains quite optimistic–more than seven in 10 renters with an opinion are confident, or somewhat confident, that they will be able to afford to own a home someday, and also say that buying a home is the best long-term investment a person can make.”

The survey reported of 3,000 heads of household respondents, 753 are Baby Boomer homeowners, of which 52 percent expect they will never move from their current home. Of the 12,500 households across 25 major metro areas that were individually surveyed (a total of 2,918 Baby Boomer households), 42 percent expect they will never move from their current home. At the individual metro area level, San Antonio Boomer owners registered the highest figure (62 percent), while Boston Boomers recorded the lowest (28 percent). All figures cited exclude indeterminate responses.

The survey said Top 10 cities in housing confidence were Denver, Miami, San Diego, Las Vegas, San Jose, Orlando, Phoenix, San Antonio, Boston and Seattle.

Meanwhile, LendingTree said its analysis of the 50 largest American cities found on average, homeowners have been in their houses for about seven years, with a high of 7.54 years in Pittsburgh to a low of 6.36 in Las Vegas. LendingTree Chief Economist Tendayi Kapfidze said the difference may not seem like much, but research reveals a significant difference in home price appreciation that is related to the average tenure.

“A lack of supply has been a persistent buyers’ challenge in the housing market since the financial crisis,” Kapfidze said. “There are not enough houses on the market, which has contributed to significant price surges in many cities.”

Key findings:

–Cities with shorter housing tenure have greater price appreciation. The top 10 cities had an average tenure of 7.46 years and an average three-year home price appreciation of 12 percent. The bottom 10, with an average tenure of 6.63 years, have average price appreciation 30 percent. “This suggests that higher housing turnover drives prices upward, while faster price appreciation could be enticing home owners to sell,” Kapfidze said.

–The Northeast dominates the list of cities with the longest tenure, led by Pittsburgh, New York and Buffalo. An additional three Northeastern cities are in the top 10.

–Hot and sunny places have the shortest tenures, typified by the three cities with the shortest tenures–Las Vegas, Phoenix and Austin. This reflects high migration rates to those cities. Denver is the only city in the bottom 10 that experiences a significant winter season.

The report can be accessed at