'Boomers' an increasing force in property market

Mature consumers, and especially "baby-boomers" aged 50 to 60, are an increasingly influential group in the property market worldwide, with specific wants and needs that need to be recognised by housing developers and marketers.

So says ERA South Africa CEO Gerhard Kotzé, who notes that an annual survey

conducted by the international ERA real estate group shows that most baby-boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) still prefer single-family homes in their own grounds to apartments or group housing - even for retirement.

"In SA this trend finds expression among the so-called empty nesters in a preference for stand-alone homes in estates and other gated communities rather than traditional suburban homes, because of the high crime rate and desire for increased security.

"In all other aspects however there is a clear correlation to the results of the survey - which found that 20% of consumers over-50 were considering a move in the next five years but that a scant 2% would choose a designated 'adult community' or what we would call a retirement village."

However, more than half of those surveyed did cite retirement as the major reason to buy a new home. Other motivating factors included a desire to downsize, lower taxes, a change of climate, affordability and proximity to friends and families,

"Indeed, and although the over-50 group may be mobile, they aren't planning to stray too far from loved ones. 71% said it was important to be near their family and family ties were even stronger for women than for men.

"A relaxed lifestyle also appears to be high on the priority list - and a savvy 45% said they also planned to buy a second home as an investment." Kotzé says it's also notable from other sources that a high percentage of spending power rests with the over-50 demographic group and that it's a market that has to be taken more seriously, as opposed to the fascination many developers and estate agents have with the youth segment."

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