The population reaching retirement continues at a rate of about 10,000 per day and the housing market needs to be prepared to shift to meet their needs.
At the conclusion of World War II there was a marked increase in birth rates around the globe. From 1946 to 1964 almost 77 million babies were born in the US alone. That spike is attributed to a number of factors including a global sense of increased stability and safety, economic growth with increased wages and people putting off or not being able to have families due to The Great Depression and World War II finally choosing to have children.
Baby boomers entered the world with an overriding global positive attitude which translated to GI Bill funded suburbs full of a variety of new consumer goods including cars, appliances, and lots and lots of television sets. Those TVs delivered consumer culture marketing messages non-stop to boomers while they were growing up and fueled a youth counterculture movement in the 1960s.
Just before all of those boomers were born the federal government signed the Social Security Act into law in 1935. Boomers have spent their careers paying into Social Security and as they move into retirement they are eligible to receive benefits. Their long careers and a relatively healthy economy during the years they’ve been employed have given this generation an extraordinary amount of influence in our economy today. A recent AARP bulletin listed their economic spending power as $7 trillion per year on goods and services.
As the boomer population continues to age their housing needs will have to address some of the challenges that come along with being the longest living generation. Bozeman is developing at break-neck speed but to avoid urban sprawl and squeeze the largest number of front doors into the land available, developers aren’t creating many neighborhoods that lend themselves to single level senior living and contractors are building fewer single level homes. We’re definitely seeing a higher concentration of multifamily structures and smaller lots are demanding building up.
For those boomers trying to downsize to a smaller, single level home can be a challenge in our area. Middle Creek Parklands in the Four Corners area West of Bozeman is currently building The Pines Condo Community. These 42 condos feature 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and appeal to other buyers as well but for baby boomers growing older and wanting to age place they have some important amenities. They are single level patio style homes that incorporate features appropriate for an aging population including extra-wide hallways that can accommodate wheel chair access. It also happens to connect to the trail corridor of Middle Creek and is close to the exclusive Black Bull Golf Club Community for boomers interested in staying active.
Assisted living facilities are also increasing the number of options available for the Baby Boomer population in our area. The Springs at Bozeman has recently opened (January 2020) and offers three different living options. Independent, Assisted Living and Memory Care and all three exist within one facility. Singles or couples can enter The Springs in their independent living environment and the organization allows them to transition into assisted living and memory care while staying within the same community. It also allows partners to continue to stay in independent living if their loved one requires transfer to a more involved level of care.
Bozeman is vibrant and can be an amazing place to live as a senior. A thriving arts and entertainment community, educational opportunities, fantastic outdoor recreation, shopping, dining and quality healthcare are all available right here. Finding options to meet our Baby Boomer population’s specific housing needs should continue as meeting those needs will enable all of us to continue to call this beautiful place home.