Summer 2012: Communities for All Generations

Housing and community choices are being made by two major demographic groups - Baby Boomers and Millennials. This issue discusses the housing, community and transportation choices that will be made by these groups as well as those of Generation X. The best community is one that works for people of all ages.

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In This Issue

As has been well documented, the housing and community choices being made by two major demographic groups — the just-starting-to-retire Baby Boomers, and the up-and-coming Millennials, who are now 14 to 32 years old — will be driving consumer demand in the upcoming decades.

The housing market is the Mississippi River of the U.S. economy — a powerful force that historically carries the country out of recession.
But imagine if all the tributaries that feed the Mississippi River dried up at once. That’s the story of the housing market for the past five years. With¬out streams of buyers, the market shriveled.

Writers and planners like to call the aging baby boomer generation a “Silver Tsunami,” but the delta of a mighty river where channels branch off as the water flows into the sea might be a better metaphor.

Chuck Gehring — who runs the Life-Care Alliance in central Ohio — calls it the “pig in the python” phenomenon, a not-so-flattering reference to the 60-million-plus, post-WWII baby boomers who will soon be turning 65. Their needs, as they continue to age, will be enormous, he says.

And in order for them to stay in their homes — as nearly all older Americans...

The end of World War II brought the start of the baby boom and the beginning of a housing pattern that is burned as deeply into the American psyche as baseball and apple pie. “When I grew up, there was no question that when people had a family, they moved to the suburbs,” says Arthur C. Nelson, director of the Metropolitan Research Center at the University of Utah.

There is a popular saying that people in the South love their cars. That isn’t likely to change, but the Greater Nashville Association of REALTORS® (GNAR), together with the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee, are working to ensure Nashville-area residents have more options when it comes to getting where they want to go.


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About On Common Ground

A free, semi-annual magazine published by NAR, On Common Ground presents a wide range of views on smart growth issues, with the goal of encouraging dialog among REALTORS®, elected officials, and other interested citizens.

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