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Baby Boomers Heading South in Droves (It's About Time...)

Chances are 50/50 that Boomers will trade their single-family home for a condo in the coming years, for a number of reasons.

Ft. Lauderdale, FL (PRWEB) January 15, 2006 -- According to The Palm Beach Post, in Palm Beach,Florida, The chances are 50/50 that Boomers will trade their single-family home for a condo in the coming years, a major Palm Beach County, Florida developer told the International Builders Show.

"Today's generation of workers are focused on family and social activities," said Jerry Starkey, president of WCI Communities, based in Bonita Springs. "In suburban communities, it's not uncommon to spend 1-1/2 hours each way commuting to work. That's destroying the quality of life."

To get out of that long commute, people are moving back to urban areas, Starkey said. Another multifamily expert agreed.

"If there's any way they can walk to the office, they'd rather do that," said Robert Koch, principal and director of Fugleberg Koch Architects of Orlando. "They don't want to live here and shop there and work over there."

The demand for condos also is increasing because of that demographic bulge, the Baby Boomers. There are 78 million people between the ages of 41 and 60, Starkey said, with as many as 3 million turning 50 every year.

"They're in their peak earning years, they're going to inherit $1 trillion from parents and grandparents in the next decade and they're out there buying homes," he said.

Growth is focused back to the urban core, Starkey said, "which is driving the price of land through the roof because urban land is scarce."

With land costs so high, the only way to build affordable homes is to go vertical, he said. "We're going to end up with a 50/50 mix of multifamily and single-family (homes), which is a significant departure from past trends," he said.

To understand just how significant, consider this:

In 2004, the ratio of condo sales to single-family homes was about 1-to-7, according to the annual U.S. Census housing survey. Of all homes nationwide, there are 15 single-family houses to every condominium.

It's not just weary commuters who crave condos, though. Workers nearing retirement also find them attractive.

Nearly half of all people between the ages of 59 and 70 intend to move when they retire, according to a survey taken last year by Del Webb, which builds communities for "active adults." The main reason they're moving: They want a home with less maintenance.

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