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Baby Boomers Plan Moves With Their Friend Group

Wealthy baby boomers are increasingly buying properties in the same housing developments as their friends, even if it means moving hundreds of miles away from the place where they first met, real estate pros tell The Wall Street Journal.

Groups of empty nesters are looking to create communities and preserve or recreate their social circles as they move to new cities. For example, seven units at the Pendry Residences in Park City, Utah, were purchased by a group of friends from the same country club in San Diego, the developer says. At Clear Creek Tahoe in Nevada, seven couples from Silicon Valley bought lots next to each other.

“They want to look for a surrogate for that kind of community support that they would have had with their family as they grew older,” Michael R. Solomon, a marketing professor at Saint Joseph’s University who’s studied the baby boomer generation, told the Journal. “It’s a support network. It’s also driven—maybe subconsciously—by wanting to avoid the specter of being stuck by yourself in a nursing home.”

More baby boomers are bypassing the continuing care communities that their parents once lived in, Solomon notes. Instead, they’re buying homes where they can age in place and targeting states that offer lower taxes and have easier access to amenities like the beach or a golf course.

Once baby boomers settle in these areas, they’re asking their friends to join them. The primary reason baby boomers cite for selling their home: To purchase a similarly sized home closer to family members and friends, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2021 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report.

Knowing the neighbors can help people settle into a new community. Sometimes, these arrangements occur with a group of friends who pick a place together, or they can happen more by chance. For example, Tom and Lori Williams told the Journal that they weren’t planning to buy real estate until after a visit to the Coachella Valley with their friends. At the time, they lived outside of Sacramento, Calif. But soon after visiting their former friends, the Williams closed on a three-bedroom, single-story home for $1.17 million in a La Quinta, Calif., golf community outside of Palm Springs. They didn’t even bother to consider other communities or neighborhoods in the area. “It’s nice to know somebody when you’re going to a new city,” Lori Williams told the Journal. “We had an instant kind of an ‘in.’” Several other families from their old community in San Diego have since relocated and purchased in the Williams’ new neighborhood.

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Source: Realtor Magazine and “When Friends Move Next Door,” The Wall Street Journal (April 7, 2021) [Log-in required.]

"Copyright NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission."

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