Exposed: the Truth About Baby Boomers Second Homes

by : Carolyn Capalbo

Contrary to the common belief that baby boomers are the richest amongst us, up to date statistics are now telling us that, in this generation, only the same percentage owns second homes as was the case with their parents. And this could even just be because they inherited!

So why do we all think that the baby boomers have it all together? Is it because we think they can economize so well? They were raised by parents who went through the war and grew accustomed to a frugal way of life. Is it because we read that they are going to be the last generation to have a big fat private pension?

In fact, we may have this assumption because of a misunderstanding or skew in the reporting of such facts. There is some truth in the fact that baby boomers have caused the second homes market to increase considerably, but this is only because the baby boomers form such a large portion of the population.

Therefore, more second homes have been bought, but only the same percentage of the whole population of baby boomers have actually managed to buy a second home. It is the aging population that has swelled, not the desire for a second home.

A recent survey, "Housing Trends Among Baby Boomers", has thrown up some interesting facts. The research was conducted by the Research Institute for Housing America: a section of the Mortgage Bankers Association. Perhaps the most surprising fact unearthed was that only 15
% of homeowners over 50 own a second home. This is about the same percentage as in their parents' generation.

However, this does not imply that the other 85% stick at home all the time. An extremely popular 'getaway' for the baby boomers and other older cohorts is taking the RV to a resort and spending several months in the warm. This is commonly known as 'snow birding'. It is also a popular past-time when retired to drive the car to an RV resort and rent an RV for a few months.

The survey on second homes and baby boomers turned up another interesting fact that any prospective second-home-owners should mull over. It seems that half of second home owners spend only two weeks or less at their second home, and one third spend four weeks or less - quite an eye opener. Perhaps this explains why 45% of second home owners in the survey sold their homes after six years.

This could indicate that a vacation home nearer to home may get more use. It may also mean that your extended family could afford to use it more often (either with or without you) if it were reachable by car.

Most baby boomers who are downsizing or looking for a second home do not seek out urban areas. Demand for second homes is strongest in California, Florida and New England as well as desert, mountain and coastal regions all over the country.

The demand for mortgages on second homes only accounts for 6% of the mortgage market. However, the report also noted that many second homes are inherited by baby boomers or bought with cash.

Reasons for choosing to buy a second home seem to be very varied. The idea of having a vacation home that will eventually become a permanent retirement home seems to exist only in our fantasies! However, the survey tells us that it does still happen; 12% of all baby boomers owning second homes eventually sell their first home and retire to the second home.