According to the Census Bureau, since 2007 seniors over the age of 75 have been moving back north from the sunny climates of Florida and North Carolina in significant numbers. You have certainly heard of reverse mortgages, this population shift is called reverse migration. Some of the original snow birds have lost partners or are in failing health. Another factor is the rough weather on those coastal shores; hurricanes once or twice a year are a lot more daunting than figuring out how to get your driveway shoveled. Families are bringing their loved ones back to assisted living or retirement villages close to their homes, where visiting or keeping track of the quality of care does not involve paying for plane tickets or buying surveillance devices.
Seniors from the suburbs who have the financial resources (referred to as the yuppie elderly) are downsizing to expensive condo’s in walk-able cities and college towns. The attraction is easy access and lots of things to help you stay active. The competition for smaller homes is already intense. Some seniors do not want to move, or are stuck in place with not enough equity to go elsewhere. Younger boomers can out bid millennial buyers for starter homes that they want for new ‘staying put’ homes.
Out in the community the other week, I heard a longtime resident say they resented people coming from Florida to their area to buy up the limited supply of smaller homes, cape cods and ranchers. These are the types of homes that are manageable in a dozen different ways, but developers do not want to build because of limited return on investment. Profit motive beats everything when it comes to making use of the open space that we have left.
The battle in local jurisdictions over how to deal with the demand to build Accessory Dwelling Units, is just warming up. I am hoping it doe snot turn into a not in my neighbor battle. Think of an ADU as just enough space to live comfortably on one level, maintain your privacy and not move away from your own property. Sharing your home beyond simply having a roommate will get either simpler or more complicated in the years to come. Already the trend to smaller assisted living homes (6-8 residents) is starting to take off. Other less expensive options besides big retirement communities may evolve because of sheer demand.
All of the above makes it even more daunting for those who are still in the, do I stay or do I go stage, as they reach retirement. Decisions, decisions.
The fact of the matter is that so much is in flux, maybe it is better not to cross that turbulent stream right now. Watch, look and listen. Right now, you are probably already sitting in the best vantage point.
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