Boomers are the Rock Stars of home renovation

Much has been said about how the Millennials like to recycle, re-purpose and mend-and-make-do as they try to embrace a more mindful, “green”  lifestyle – and how this passion often extends to home improvements and even total restorations.

However, it appears that the Boomers (who are mostly old enough to be grandparents to the Millenials), are still the biggest players in the additions and alterations game.
According to a recent US study by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch, households where the average age is 55-plus currently account for more than 47% of all spending on home renovations – which is a $90bn a year market in the US.

The obvious reason, the bank says, is that people nearing retirement often have more financial resources to put towards home improvements. And that would also seem to be the case for many Boomers in SA, where the value of the additions and alternations market is currently growing at about 5% a year and worth around R25,5bn a year, according to StatsSA.

What is more, though, is that there is a growing trend around the world for over-55s to decide to “age in place” in their existing homes rather than move to a retirement village or old age home. This is of course driving these homeowners to modify their homes to make them more age-friendly while often also making some less-expected changes to bring them right up to date.

Indeed, the most common renovations now being made by Boomer homeowners include creating a home office with a high-speed internet connection, creating modern open-plan kitchens and living areas and installing “smart” temperature, light and security systems as well as the more usual bathroom and kitchen upgrades, landscaping projects and safety equipment they think they might need as they get older.

In other words, they are giving a lot of older housing stock a real new lease on life as they once again prove they are the “do things differently” generation. Let’s just hope the handy Millennials will grow to be just as adventurous!  

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