Baby Boomers provide a boost to home sales


Baby Boomers, who are accustomed to the world around them changing to meet the size of their demographic as well as their tastes, are changing the products homebuilders are building.

Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner says Charlotte has seen a huge influx of young people and Baby Boomers.

“Charlotte was not thought of 10-15 years ago as a major destination for retirees, but it is happening particularly on the south side, downtown and around the lake,” the nationally known economist said.

On a different note, he said he still expects the Fed to raise interest rates in September, but they will most likely remain low for some time to come. Mortgage rates will not be significantly affected.

There is a growing demand for nicer houses with a smaller foot print, but getting it all in one package isn’t that easy. Lance Carlyle, of Carlyle Properties in Cornelius, says well-heeled Baby Boomers often want ranch-style homes.

“But, really, there aren’t a lot available. These people are not looking for 1970s ranchers with chopped-up floor plans,” Carlyle said. In higher end neighborhoods, smaller homes are in demand, and if the master is on the second floor, Baby Boomers are inclined to think about sacrificing floor space up and down for an elevator.

Many move here from expensive homes in colder climes to be close to grandchildren.

Baby Boomers are one of the strongest segments of today’s home-buying public. Born from 1946 to 1964, the generation controls almost 70 percent of the disposable income in America and half of all Consumer Product Goods spending.

According to a recent Metrostudy report, this group of 79 million Americans will buy more than half of new U.S. homes in the next five years.

“The Baby Boomers are no longer your Grandpa’s generation. They are owning their freedom and their choices. They are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to real estate,” said Pat Riley, president and COO of Allen Tate Cos.

And what you might believe about the real estate preferences of Baby Boomers is likely wrong. According to a Merrill Lynch/Age Wave survey:

83 percent of Baby Boomers choose to retire in the same state. Those who move do so to be closer to family.

Half of Baby Boomers do not downsize when they move. In fact, 30 percent upsize to make room for family to visit or live with them.

Fewer than 10 percent make renovations to their home to prepare for aging. Of those who do, a third add a home office because they plan to continue working.

“Two-thirds of Baby Boomers say they are living in the best home of their lives,” said Riley. “If you’re in the market to buy a home, don’t be surprised if you find yourself competing against a determined Baby Boomer.

Lots of note

It looks like four lakefront lots are closing for good prices in the Island Forest neighborhood in Cornelius. One just closed at $675,000, another one, a full acre, is closing at more than $1.3 million, said Carlyle. The smaller lot went under contract in less than a week, he said.

Bankers are seeing it too. Aquesta Bank in Cornelius is reporting a “significant increase” in jumbo loan demand.

“While it is difficult to quantify as each jumbo can be somewhat unique, growth of about 25 percent is a conservative estimate,” said Jim Engel, president and CEO of Aquesta.

Of course, interest rates help. There’s no telling what will be happening with the Fed.

“New construction seems to be the first to go and the last to come back, so this is exciting,” Carlyle said.

Median sales prices up 5.5 percent

Michelle Ivester-Rhyne, a broker with Helen Adams Realty in Huntersville, says better lending standards, lower oil prices and higher wages are pushing home sales “It is widely believed that  interest rates will go up before the year is over, an indicator that the housing market is ready for such a move,” she said.

She said there is a 13 month supply of homes for sale priced from $500,000 to $999,999 in Lake Norman, with homes selling at the rate of 32 per month. From $750,000 to $2 million, homes are selling at the rate of about 10 per month, with more than a two-year supply.

In Cabarrus

Showings of upper-bracket homes in Cabarrus are still going strong. Last year during June through August, there were 123 showings vs. 105 during the same period this year.

“Although that number is less overall, the [number of] homes on the market now are down considerably over the same time this year which signals strength in the luxury range. Pricing is showing an uptick as well with the average sales price up 9.7 percent over last year,” said Diane Honeycutt of Allen Tate in Concord.

In Cornelius

A house at 18224 Peninsula Club Drive in The Peninsula has sold for $1.05 million after being listed at $1.1 million by Dixie Dean of Allen Tate for a little over a month. The five-bedroom house has 4.5 baths in 4,868 square feet of space. It is on the golf course and has a pool. Dean also represented the buyers of the home.

Hot Properties is all about the deal. If you’re an agent with a high-end, closed deal, usually $750,000 and above, let us know. Email the editor, Dave Yochum, at [email protected] or call 704-895-1335.


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