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  • Paul Takahashi

What Houston Millennials and Baby Boomers have in common when it comes to housing

On the surface, Baby Boomers and Millennials couldn’t be any more different.

The former, born between 1946 and 1964, grew up during the Civil Rights movement, the Cold War and space travel. The latter, born between the early 1980s and late 1990s, grew up with the Internet, terrorist attacks and the Great Recession.

Baby Boomers are often seen as driven employees who live to work. Millennials, on the other hand, are often seen as unmotivated employees who work to live. Despite all these differences, these two generations have one thing in common: the desire to live in the same type of housing.Houston homebuilders, apartment developers and architects have found that what appeals to Millennials actually also appeals to Baby Boomers. They both want to live in apartments, smaller homes and mixed-use communities where they can walk to live, work and play.As a result, Baby Boomers and Millennials — the two largest demographics nationally — are now driving a transformation in Houston’s housing market.“We see a convergence between these two different populations,” said Patrick Dennis, president of construction for The Dinerstein Cos., a Houston-based multifamily developer. “We’re finding a lot of what those two demographics happen to like are actually the same things: high-rise living and walkability.” Older generations used to have few options for housing upon retirement. Most usually went into retirement communities in places such as Arizona and Florida. But now, Baby Boomers, who are nearing retirement age, have more options for new lifestyles.Many empty-nesters are downsizing from large suburban homes and moving intoluxury apartments that have the same high-quality finishes as their single-family homes but have the added amenities and conveniences of modern apartments. Often, these apartments are located in dense, mixed-use communities where residents can walk to restaurants, shops and entertainment.FEATURED JOBSHOUSTON, TXCivil Engineering Assistant Project ManagerDuplantis Design Group, PCHOUSTON, TXMarketing AssistantBenjamin Astor Roofing Ltd.FREEPORT, TXSales ExecutiveSeahorse Beach Club & ResidencesPost a JobSee All Jobs“How could you not want to live in these new apartments?” said Scott Ziegler, senior principal of Ziegler Cooper, a Houston-based architecture firm behind many of Houston’s luxury apartments and mixed-use communities. “It’s no longer seen as a step down in lifestyle. In fact, it feels hip and young.”At the same time, homebuilders are constructing patio homes with smaller yards in master-planned and so-called “active adult” communities, like Woodforest's Bonterra. These smaller homes still have all the high-quality finishes that Baby Boomers and Millennials are accustomed to, but are easier to maintain.“What’s attractive to Millennials is also attractive to the active adult buyer,” saidScott Davis, regional director for Metrostudy Corp’s Houston office, a single-family housing research firm. “ They’re looking for low maintenance — smaller yards, less house to maintain — but pay a lot of attention to design and finish-outs. Millennials expect the high level of home that they had growing up and active adults near the end of their career want all the accoutrements of success.”

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