More retirees staying in their current homes

April 20th, 2015

More seniors are choosing to keep their current homes.

While many people dream of purchasing a vacation home in a warmer location during retirement, more baby boomers are maintaining their current homes rather than moving. Most people older than 50 years intend to stay in their current homes or communities, according to USA Today. A survey from Merrill Lynch and Age Wave revealed 65 percent of retirees consider their current homes to be the best place they have ever lived.

Retirees who planned to continue living in the same home reported it was because they loved their houses, they had family and friends nearby, loved their communities and did not want to lose their independence. The majority of baby boomers who wanted to keep their current homes were willing to renovate or try new technology that would enable them to stay where they are, such as cleaning tools, brighter light fixtures and self-adjusting thermostats. Smart-home concepts could help seniors stay in their homes without assistance for as long as possible, especially as Age Wave reported 52 percent of adults 75 and older live alone.

Smart technology could also help homeowners cut maintenance expenses, which are one of the main reasons people choose to downsize in retirement rather than stay in their current homes.

More homeowners choosing to renovate instead of moving
The decision to relocate or stay put is a huge question for many U.S. homeowners as they approach retirement. Before age 65, homes have a higher financial than emotional value for most owners. The emotional connection increases with age, and many older adults place a high value on their comfort, which is often tied to what is familiar. Because being close to family was important, many retirees were renovating so their relatives could stay with them.

The report also found baby boomers spend more money on home renovations than any other age group. Comfort is more important, and many people close to retirement age can afford to upgrade their current homes without downsizing. However, the scale of many remodeling projects has decreased since the recession, according to The New York Times. The number of projects is still high among baby boomers, though the scope may be limited to bathroom or kitchen updates.

Why do people choose to move in retirement?
Downsizing was appealing to retirees who wanted to decrease their monthly housing cost and the amount of maintenance they needed to do. Similar to the retirees who were staying in place because they were near friends or family, the top reason for older adults to move was to be closer to family. More than half of people who move during retirement purchased a smaller home.

Although retirees in the past often relocated to a vacation destination, the baby boomer generation is one of the largest, and this group still has a great deal of influence on the homebuying market. Baby boomers who move look for homes that cater to their needs and provide comfort.