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Baby boomers have stronger impact on housing

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The baby boomer generation seems to affect housing construction more these days, leading home builders and remodelers to gear their business more toward that demographic.

But within the 20-year span of the baby boomer generation comes different wants and needs.

Corky McMillin Cos. is currently building Verona, a housing development in East Chula Vista priced in the $600,000-700,000 range that is geared towards home buyers 45-55 years of age.

Homes range from 3,500-4,800 square feet with three to seven bedrooms.

“These folks have disposable income and want larger homes,” said David Warren, senior vice president of home building for the Corky McMillin Cos. “They can afford more now.”

Warren explained that the younger generation of baby boomers want “flex rooms” that can turn into office space; a large combination room that acts like a living room and family room; large backyards with a pool; and four- to five-car garages to accommodate for their children’s cars and luxury commodities like boats.

Warren added that baby boomers are looking for more amenities in a master planned community that go with their age group, like a golf course, a fitness area and a community clubhouse where they can gather and socialize with their neighbors.

“These were the types of things discussed at last year’s Pacific Coast Builders Conference,” said Warren, who attended the conference, adding that baby boomers also want more sustainable and energy efficient amenities like solar panels and low water-use landscaping.

Alex Plishner, director of community development for Shea Homes, agreed that baby boomers want sustainable features and newer technology in their home now, but also said the 55 to 65-year-old generation wants these features in an urban area and doesn’t mind living in attached multi-family complexes.

“They are looking for a place that has been traditionally designed for younger buyers,” Plishner said. “They are looking to downsize. They don’t want to mow the lawn or have to take care of other big housing needs. These buyers want a simpler life.”

Plishner added these "second-half" baby boomers want to have that extra bedroom for when grandchildren visit, and an open living room and kitchen space.

In addition, he said they want to live in a more dense, master-planned community where they can walk to the grocery store, a park or any place they need to go.

“They are particular in what they want,” said Plishner, adding that the baby boomers are a huge part of the market right now.

But there are also baby boomers who like where they are currently living and would just like to remodel their existing homes.

Armando Ivan Flores, vice president and chief operating officer of Charco Construction, said approximately 90 percent of his work is coming from baby boomers.

“These people are established and well-off financially,” said Flores. “They want higher-end products.”

Flores said the typical work they perform involves $100,000 remodels, adding that spas and bathrooms are more popular.

“One customer is spending more than what the house is worth,” Flores said. “It’s the last home they will live in and they want the best thing possible.”

Flores added the more popular areas for his business right now are Del Mar, La Jolla and Carmel Valley, while fewer projects are in Chula Vista and Escondido.

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