Boomers have slowly but surely started ditching the suburbs in favour of trendy urban neighborhoods across the country.
More than one million baby boomers moved within five miles of the 50 largest cities in the last 10 years, according to real estate brokerage site Redfin.
They could be looking to downsize to cut costs or just sniffing out a good place to retire, but there’s no doubt that boomers are drawn to city life and all the perks that come with it.
This could mean bad news for younger people looking to settle down. The wealthier and older a community gets, the more likely it will drive up property values and push everyone else out.
The price for a condominium in the U.S. has risen 11% in the past year, according to the
National Association of Realtors, and city rentals can be 200% as expensive as those in the suburbs.
There’s no better example of how pricey real estate can change the demographics of communities than New York City.
Toll Brothers, a home building company that builds nationwide, told the Wall Street Journal that in their newest build in Gramercy Park, a trendy, upscale neighbourhood in Manhattan, 75% of buyers were boomers. And just over the East River in the hipster haven of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, another property was 35% boomer-occupied.
Already, builders are reacting to older demand, adding perks like high-end fitness centres, club houses, common rooms and wine storage rooms to appeal to their arguably more refined tastes.
New York City leaders have long debated the soaring cost of rent but little has been done to prevent it.
It was enough to get Girls actress Lena Dunham to speak up at a recent fundraiser for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer (D), who is running for comptroller.
Rising rent prices, she said, will only drive away the struggling artists and young people who give the city its unique flavour. And she’s right, said Business Insider politics editor Josh Barro:
“Policies that limit development in Manhattan are the reason that Girls is set in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and not in Manhattan — and they’re the reason that people less economically fortunate than the characters on Girls can’t even afford to live in Greenpoint.
The irony here is that people lament how the city is changing and losing economic diversity, but policies designed to prevent change actually make the city less affordable.”