More baby boomers are forgoing homeownership and choosing to rent, with many looking for the same type of living environment as their millennial counterparts.
Between 2009 and 2015, the number of renters aged 55 or above rose 28 percent, while those aged 34 or younger only increased 3 percent, according to census data recently crunched by apartment search engine RENTCafe.
In addition, more than 5 million U.S. baby boomers are expected to rent their next home by 2020, according to a 2016 analysis from Freddie Mac. Some boomers want to stay close to the neighborhoods where they have lived for decades, while others are following their children to cities.
According to CNBC, since baby boomers tend to have more money to spend than millennials, developers are trying to lure them into luxury buildings like the ones sprouting up across New York City. In fact, boomers and millennials alike are flocking to areas like downtown Brooklyn, which is home to many new full-service high-rises – and they sometimes compete over units.
“You would think [baby boomers] would be buying and investing in property, but a lot of people like the convenience and ease of renting,” said Phillip Salem, an agent at real estate brokerage firm Triplemint. “A lot of millennials are moving into brand-new rentals, and a lot of boomers are saying ‘That’s what’s I like, too.’”
Salem estimates that his own Manhattan high-rise – with a gym, yoga studio and three outdoor lounges – is comprised of about 70 percent millennials and 30 percent baby boomers.
“When I’m on the roof deck grilling, there are a lot of baby boomers,” he said. “They come and sit with us. We chill. It’s a community.”
Chris Bledsoe, co-founder of the national co-living brand Ollie, said that boomers account for one out of every four email inquiries.
Ollie offers an all-inclusive living experience in micro-unit studio apartments (under 400 square feet), or micro-suites where renters have private bedrooms while sharing kitchens, bathrooms and other common spaces. About 80 percent of tenants are in their 20s and 30s, but just under 20 percent are over the age of 50 – and about a third of those are in their 60s.
“I say millennial is a mindset, not an age group,” he said. “Boomers are seeking something urban. They want cultural vibrancy, the theater. They want to be close to where their kids and grandkids are.”