baby_boomer_button-p145412973422637422tmn2_400Posted by Leonard Steinberg on August 9th, 2013

Developers always ask the question: what will be the target profile of buyers you imagine will buy in my building? The answer has changed. I learned to adapt my answer many years ago while selling a large building in Tribeca. Anyone would have automatically assumed young families focused on schools and younger Wall Street couples potentially planning families would be the focus. I was wrong. To my surprise a large group of buyers were baby boomers coming back from the suburbs after their kids had moved on. Some were even retirees.

In a 2011 National Association of Realtors poll, 19% of Americans said they wanted to live in a city, up from 13% in 2004. Many cities have become safer and cleaner, and as baby boomers retire later, they want to be downtown where they can often walk to work. Often these older buyers are in a better position to afford Manhattan pricing: older, more affluent baby boomers, defined as born between 1946 and 1964, move to cool Downtown neighborhoods while often younger residents are starting to move out to Brooklyn to avoid rising prices and the growing number of older folks.

Recently while selling 150 Charles Street, this exact trend could be witnessed clearly. I have seen it in many other circumstances. Its not a terribly new story: What is newsworthy is the number of wealthier couples who are younger than the traditional baby-boomer age who are buying 5-10 years ahead of their need, planning now to move back to the city. They anticipate price escalation over the next decade and may use their City purchase as a pied-a-terre till they use it full time.  Now its certain that this is a trend that has legs.