Baby boomers are returning by the hundreds each month and they’re looking for a change of venue. They’re likely empty-nesters living in homes too big for their current needs with lawns their aging knees don’t feel like mowing. The new trend in the baby boomer generation is to sell out of a traditional home and move into a condo. Condos are smaller, require less maintenance, and have little or no yard to take care of.
Baby boomers downsizing
Adam Wertheimer, a project manager with BOWA, a Bethesda-based home design and remodeling company, said, "People are moving out of these single family homes in Bethesda and Potomac and into condos in Bethesda, Chevy Chase, and Northwest D.C. We hear the same thing all the time: They don’t want the maintenance and they don’t need the big house."
Location of condos is key for aging population
With this growing market of interested buyers, condo builders are shaking things up by building lines of "luxury" condos. These condos target the older demographic by including easy access to parking and elevator access to upper floors. The condos are located in central areas with shopping in easy walking distance.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey found that "almost 10 percent of households age 55 and older in cities lived in condos in 2011, up from 7.3 percent in 2005 despite a shortage of condos."
Condo renovation poses challenges
Condo renovation is rising in popularity as well. At one time thought to be impossible, home owners have discovered that many condo developments allow certain types of changes, like shifting walls, replacing fixtures, or repainting. Condo renovation poses a challenge to contractors, however, because they have condo development rules to abide by. The walls between units can’t be touched and some systems, like plumbing, can’t be relocated.
Newer condos require less work
New condo buildings don’t require much work, Wertheimer said. Most of his business in luxury condos comes from buildings that are 5 to 10 years old. "A lot of companies try to get into condo renovation and struggle because they’re not used to dealing with building management," he went on. "But we’ve seen a huge surge in people who don’t want their unit to look like the other units in the building and who are looking for their unit to function in specific ways."
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