An older population and future housing needs

Our future as an aging society
Our future as an aging society

While it is true that the baby boom generation is no longer the largest generation it is also true that the whole world is aging and at some point in the next three years or so for the first time in human history there will be more 65 year olds than there are five year olds.

We really have no way of knowing if this trend will some day be reversed but for now we need to work with what we have.

As the daughter of elderly parents I wonder if our housing will be adequate as we age. Our current system of providing care for the elderly doesn’t make a lot of sense either. The U.S. isn’t as old as some other countries mostly because of immigration but it looks like that could change in the near future too.

From a business point of view I think now is a great time to develop products and services for older American’s and for the very old. Elders could benefit from the use of more technology.  Last year I bought my dad an Amazon echo. He can now do all sorts of things for himself using voice commands.

I see old people every day and all of the time.

Watch live or wait?

Live on Facebook - right now

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. Last weekend I watched a “facebook live” video a few hours after it went live. The host was expressing concern because only two people were watching. There wasn’t anything about the video that made it time sensitive.

I guess I don’t get it. Part of the reason we capture video and still photos is so we can save a moment or a memory. We can watch a video of a child taking her first step as it happens or two hours later and it all looks the same to me.

All day long there are people posting on social media. Should I drop what I am doing and watch or look or can it wait until later or tomorrow or a week from now even?

Life is full of interruptions but only if we let interrupt.

August 1st, not a good day to make an offer

August first is the day that new laws take effect in Minnesota and every August changes made to our real estate contracts take effect. It isn’t the best day to make an offer on a home for sale. Real estate agents do not get to see the forms/contracts until August 1st but we do get some information about changes.

This year it looks like one of the forms was simplified and a few have new options added to them. In general over the years more pages are added to our contracts to accommodate more paragraphs. Some of the changes are made to reflect new laws and some of the changes are made to head off problems and misunderstandings that arise from the wording of our existing contracts.

The Minnesota association of Realtors is responsible for the forms we use. There is a by appointment only committee of members who suggest changes to the forms.

Happy August!

sun flowers
Urban flowers

July 4th is early this year

Over the weekend I had a hard time finding a real estate agent who could help with an out of town home buyer. Agents told me that it was a holiday. Actually I completely understand. People often have time off over the July 4th holiday and they want to use it to do a little house hunting. Some of the folks who call me seem to have just figured out that they are going to buy a home in St. Paul or maybe they just got in the car and it took them here and while they are here they want to explore the possibility of buying a home here.

I work with a few people who are relocating every year. Some of them have a plan ahead of time and interview real estate agents and make appointments to tour homes months in advance, which allows me to clear my calendar and give them the undivided attention they need and deserve as we tour 10 to 20 houses in a day or two.

Often those who come into town and don’t plan ahead end up working with the junior real estate agent who doesn’t yet have any business. That agent will end up paying a referral fee for a the “lead”. They may not actually know what they are doing but they need to start some place.

If you are looking for a great agent to work with over the 4th of July weekend this year you are already way to late but it isn’t too late to start looking for an agent to work with over the Labor day weekend or during the winter holidays.

July 4th in St. Paul
July 4th in St. Paul

What will the generations do?


The real estate industry is obsessed with the millennial generation. I work with people of all ages including first time home buyers and people in older generations who are also buy and sell homes.  We are also obsessed with older generations because they currently control most of this countries wealth and real estate.

“The decisions the nation’s baby boomers and other older home owners make will have an enormous impact on the demand for housing and new mortgage credit for the foreseeable future,” says Dave Lowman, executive vice president of Single-Family Business at Freddie Mac. “Whether they buy new homes or decide to refinance and renovate their current ones, the size of this generation and the fact that they hold close to two-thirds, approximately $8 trillion, of the nation’s home equity makes it very important that we watch what they do.

The baby boom and millennial generations are both huge, partly because they both include a couple of decades of births. Baby boomer births span 18 years and millennial generation births span 20 years. I feel pretty confident pointing out that the needs of someone born in 1964 and the needs of someone born in 1946 who will be turning 70 this year are not the same. It is also very possible that the people who were born in 1946 may follow different trends than those who were born 18 years later.

With the millennial generation I don’t think we really know what the housing preferences of the youngest millennials who are still in high school will be, where as we are starting to see multiple trends among the oldest millennials. Trends toward living in urban areas and in the suburbs and owning homes or not owning homes or even living in their parents basements.

Any trend that spans the entire millennial generation or the entire baby boomer generation is going to have a huge impact on our housing market and economy but I seriously doubt there will ever be a time when people who are twenty years apart in age will all be doing the same things. I can’t see my entire generation making a decision that is going to work for 70 year olds and for 52 year olds.