The baby boomer generation have changed things in society all their lives. Now they may be doing it again, this time in housing. Throughout their growing up years, the Holy Grail was to own your own home. In your working age adult years, you laboured to pay off your mortgage. Then when almost at retirement age, you finally pay it off and own 100% of your home.
After a short sigh of relief —— You have a home which is too big for you, now the children have flown the nest. Your property is ageing along with you and needs regular maintenance which you are less able to do yourself. If you live in the suburbs, or even more remotely in rural areas, the supermarkets and shops seem to have moved further away. And finally, your fixed income makes you more aware of everyday costs now there is no earned income coming in.
The good news is that as an ever-lucky baby boomer, your property has increased enormously in value over the years and you did not have to do anything to make it happen. You just had to be on the property ladder. Now, you need a baby boomer paradigm change in thinking. Your house no longer needs to be a castle, now it can be a springboard to a new downsized life.
As is often the case, housing trends in the USA preceded what happens in the UK a few years later. The hippy generation of America are beginning a new trend in retirement – not just downsizing, but renting rather than owning their homes. According to the Tampa Bay Times, there has been a 42% growth in rental properties and interestingly 1 in 3 people have enough to buy but still decide to rent ! Home ownership in the US has dropped to 64% in recent years. Renting an apartment in the centre of town means you can walk to the local shops or travel easily (and in the UK often freely) on public transport. Market rents, although high, mean that property upkeep is looked after for you by the landlord.
The new ageing hippy ideal is to ‘hang loose’ and enjoy retired life to the full. Release of the equity you have accumulated in your house gives you the means to do it. ‘Far out man I’m on the road again’
There is more to life than bingo, carpet slippers and rocking chairs on the porch.
This could be the start of another baby boomer revolution in society.