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May 14, 2007

The Boomer Market: Waterfront Views and Turn-Key Living

Q. "Do baby boomers want waterfront?"
Yes, Boomers want waterfront and a lot of them are in a position to afford it now!  In the old days, people would retire to South Florida and many would choose Galt Ocean Mile condos on the beach. Most of the buildings offered swimming pools, some permitted small animals. The beach was a big attraction. A few choice buildings offered rooftop pools and walking trails around the top of the building, with a party room in the middle.

Seasonal events were planned for the community but, in general, the party rooms were unused. Galt still exists today and is still popular but the new buildings are being built around a different concept, a more active and elegant one. There are a lot more places to walk to as a destination.
Builders are using a different approach about how to provide for Boomer families. They are planning communities that offer less maintenance and more activities for active people who think they are still 20 years younger than their physical age might indicate while planning for a time when they might consider getting old enough to need a little extra help. We are not going to retire until we can find someone we can mentor to take over what we have created and some of us who feel we still haven't quite grown up yet (you can't count the age!) are still planning to work for a long time. This might be a good thing considering the state of social security affairs. If the Boomers work long enough we might be able to help jump-start our kids' retirement programs.

I have a lot of experience in the field in South Florida and less here in North Texas as I don't practice on the street here, I teach. In Texas we are seeing those grownup (Boomer stage) communities planned a bit differently, they are considering the whole family. The "kids" (who are also grown up by now) can live in the active young adult areas which are very close to office communities while Boomer Mom and Dad can be nearby in the Boomer active area.

I know one builder who described that exact scenario recently when he came to our office looking for property to build. He is including Green space and commercial space so that our Boomer favorite necessities can be nearby. Boomers will be able to walk to pick up almost everything they need right in the neighborhood.

There are several communities in South Florida that are perfect Boomer-like communities, already. One of them is called the Township. It is a perfect model for Boomers and so far ahead of its time. It has been in existence for almost 20 years! They have water views, walking trails, craft classes, a little theater, a common library on the honor system and still offer pools and tennis and golf.

If I was going to suggest an upgrade today I would tell them to wire the house and common building for computer and sound. Events are something the Boomers still enjoy. Their version of theme parties is a bit different though!  Woodstock is not the Boomers parent's version of a theme party but, all Boomers got the idea and had a lot of fun with variations of it ever since. Their parents never envisioned "Hands across the world!" Today's Boomer is not only thinking "Hands across the world" he is traveling the world and doing business that way. The other community that comes to mind immediately in South Florida is Palm Aire with five golf courses. Within a shout of the racetrack and lots of shopping. Easy access to the tollway lets the Boomers run away for a visit with Mickey anytime the mood strikes. So to sum it up, Boomers like the idea of water and fun and convenience and they are still interested in paying for it.
(Doris Barnett, e-PRO is a Certified e-PRO Trainer.)

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