Boomers Cite Durable Materials Among Most-Wanted Home Features

The majority of baby boomers prefer to invest in durable materials such as tile and stone in their homes, as shown in this bathroom at The Crest of Alexandria.

As of 2019, the entire baby boomer generation is now officially at least 55 years old. What do these 75 million consumers in a strong 55+ housing market want in their homes for their ‘golden years’?

According to NAHB’s What Home Buyers Really Want, baby boomers are keenly interested in energy efficiency, but the vast majority (81%) want to invest in durable materials that need to be replaced less frequently as well. Using durable materials in construction can also be a green building strategy, resulting in a lower environmental footprint with less waste and resources needed for upkeep. Their use may qualify for points toward green home certification under the National Green Building Standard (NGBS).

Craig Havenner, president of NAHB member firm The Christopher Companies, is seeing this interest among his buyers at The Crest of Alexandria, a 55+ community in Northern Virginia seeking NGBS certification. As a standard, the company installs durable materials such as hardwood cabinets and flooring, granite countertops and ceramic tile on the interiors, as well as the fiber-cement siding on the exteriors.

“The tastes and upgrade demands of our clients are similar to move-up home buyers,” Havenner noted, regarding finishes such as kitchen cabinets, hardwood and ceramic tile flooring, trim and light fixtures.

Owners are requesting upgraded appliances — such as a smart oven and range — but there has not been much demand for whole-house smart-home technology. “This demographic isn’t really interested,” Havenner observed. “Fast, reliable Internet, building security and access controls, and smart thermostats are of primary importance.”

Similar durable materials are also featured in this nearly finished kitchen.

Survey results indicate boomers have an eye toward the environment outside their homes as well to explore and stay connected with the surrounding community. The multifamily development includes popular community amenities — many of which can contribute toward NGBS certification — such as:

  • Walkability to shopping, dining and entertainment,
  • Outdoor spaces such as gardens (including raised planters for accessibility), standard and ADA-compliant outdoor kitchens, and paths and walking trails, and
  • Fitness activities such as pickleball courts, yoga lawn & fitness stations.

“Christopher Companies has clearly taken the interests of its target demographic to heart to create a development that fits both the needs and the lifestyle of today’s 55+ buyer,” stated Dean Schwanke, vice president of multifamily housing. “The construction materials and practices we saw being installed were chosen not only for aesthetics but also with performance and client satisfaction in mind.”

For more information about NAHB’s sustainable and green building programs, contact Program Manager Michelle Diller. For more about NAHB’s 55+ Housing Council, contact Director Lynn Basso.

To stay current on high-performance building, follow NAHB’s Sustainability and Green Building team on Twitter.

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