Mollie Carmichael Carmichael: “You have to shift to make this a big part of your business plan.”

IRVINE, CA—Adults in the 55-plus age category don’t just fall into one amorphous demographic blob; they have distinct housing-need differences that builders need to address in their design and location of 55-plus communities, John Burns Real Estate principal Mollie Carmichael told listeners during a recent company webinar titled “The Boomer Generation Redefined: Evaluating Preferences & Opportunities.” The webinar was intended to reveal what the firm had learned through research about new demographic shifts and generational attitudes for today’s 55-plus consumer. “We can no longer look at the 55+ consumer as one group known as ‘the Boomers,’” was the message. “We are living longer, working longer, family formation is changing, and life as we know it is changing daily.”

Carmichael pointed out that in the residential real estate market, “we sell the most expensive product to consumers today,” so it behooves the market to recognize the differences among this growing demographic and how it affects their decisions about where and how they want to live. For example, not all Baby Boomers are grandparents; 50% of consumers aged 55 to 65 want to live in a childless neighborhood. More relevantly, 53% of this age group can’t find what they’re looking for in a home.

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Carrie Rossenfeld

Carrie Rossenfeld is a reporter for the San Diego and Orange County markets on and a contributor to Real Estate Forum. She was a trade-magazine and newsletter editor in New York City before moving to Southern California to become a freelance writer and editor for magazines, books and websites. Rossenfeld has written extensively on topics including commercial real estate, running a medical practice, intellectual-property licensing and giftware. She has edited books about profiting from real estate and has ghostwritten a book about starting a home-based business.

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