Top 10 Home Features Baby Boomers Want — and Don’t Want

April 18, 2019

Consumers in the baby boomer generation have a lot in common with the average home buyer, but they tend to have stronger opinions about what they do and do not want in their homes, as indicated in NAHB’s recent update on “What Home Buyers Really Want.”

Most Important Home Features

Number one is a laundry room, which 94 percent of baby boomers want. ENERGY STAR categories also made the list – topped by windows at 91 percent.

Baby boomers trended in line with overall homebuyers with two exceptions: Baby boomers are more likely to indicate what they want (based on higher essential/desirable percentages noted in the chart), and a full bath on the main level is of high importance.

An elevator is the feature baby boomers are least likely to want, as 80 percent of them are looking to purchase single-story homes. It’s important to remember, however, that a niche market usually exists even among the most generally unwanted items; in this case, 10 percent of baby boomers consider an elevator desirable, and three percent think it’s essential.

With the most undesirable features, baby boomers again paralleled the interests of the general homebuyer population. The biggest difference is that a two-story family room ranks fourth on the unwanted list for baby boomers, compared to ninth for all buyers. In every case, though, the share of baby boomers who explicitly reject the feature is at least five percentage points higher.

Most Desired Community Features

  • Near retail space (72 percent ranked essential or desirable)
  • Walking/jogging trails (66 percent)
  • Typically suburban (65 percent)
  • Walkable community (62 percent)
  • Park area (61 percent)

The suburban environment supports 55+ buyers’ general locality preference, as 67 percent prefer to live in the suburbs versus eight percent who prefer the city. Housing affordability may be a driving factor in that as well, as the number of “exurbs” – locations just beyond more affluent suburbs – continue to rise.

These factors are important to consider in developing new homes as the number of 55+ households is projected to grow from 54.9 million to 66.3 million, or about 47.1 percent of U.S. households, in the next few years.

This post was adapted from an article in the Winter 2019 issue of 55+ Housing Online Magazine. The author, Dr. Paul Emrath, is vice president for survey and housing policy research at NAHB; Rose Quint, who also contributed to this information, is assistant vice president for survey and housing policy research at NAHB. The survey department conducts a number of regular surveys, such as the quarterly survey for the widely cited Remodeling Market Index.