The New Baby Boomer Boom
Jay Hiemenz is the president and COO of Phoenix-based multifamily owner–operator Alliance Residential, the largest developer of rental apartment communities in the U.S., according to the 2016 NMHC 50. Hiemenz says the boomer demographic has been growing in numbers across his company’s conventional rental product, particularly with the recovery in single-family housing prices.
“If you look at our average renter age, it’s been rising as a result,” Hiemenz says. “Boomers’ ability to sell their homes and move into rental housing as a lifestyle choice is a source of demand we underestimated early in this cycle. During the downturn, though there may have been a desire to pursue the more turnkey, maintenance-free lifestyle that renting provides, there was insufficient liquidity in the single-family market to make the move.”
Although Hiemenz doesn’t think boomers will eclipse millennials in terms of demand in absolute numbers, he does expect the customer demographic to continue to grow more quickly, from a renter perspective, over the next several years. “I also think we’re getting better at anticipating that demand by designing product and programming services that cater to the boomers, and, in some cases, Alliance projects will be exclusively baby boomer–focused,” Hiemenz says.
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