Even if more people are interested in smaller houses, will they be willing to forgo the amenities of larger houses? This article suggests the Baby Boomers going to Florida want to go smaller but still want features:
The baby boomers who invented the “McMansion” now say they want to scale down, while still having everything just so. For boomers beginning to trickle into Florida, this means medium-size, maintenance-free retirement homes that still feel spacious, especially when it comes to storing all their stuff.
Builders who study what this generation wants have come up with innovations like “snore rooms” to preserve bedtime peace and “technology centers” to keep them connected. Behind a yen for such marketing frills is a solid demand for costly amenities: spas, fitness centers and dedicated golf cart paths to nearby shopping…
This generation, famous for saying one thing and doing another, promises to keep it up as its members age. Boomers say they intend to downsize, but appear to change their minds once they see what their dollars will buy in a post-recession Florida…
Inside, the standard villa layout has been refined to boost the coolness factor boomers crave. Generous windows, some of them bays and bump-outs, flood the rooms with natural light. Tiny foyers feature the elegant architectural detail of a stately manor, and lead immediately into wide, off-center angles of open-planned space. Pocket doors allow one- or two-bedroom guest suites to close off from the rest of the living area, so grandchildren can nap or play.
Custom options include a cocktail pool, or “spool” — bigger than a spa, smaller than a pool — and a shared office with his-and-her workspaces for boomer couples telecommuting from home.
Several factors are at play here:
1. Housing is relatively cheap in Florida, particularly if retirees are coming from New York, Washington, Boston, and to a lesser extent, Chicago. Perhaps these retirees can’t resist getting the “best deal” when they realize they have the money to buy a little more?
2. What people expect in retirement. It sounds like these retirees expect a certain standard of living when they move to Florida. If they had fewer choices or less money, what would they ask for? Overall, these retirees have the money and the wherewithal to pick up and leave for Florida.
3. This is big business. Companies like Dell Webb need retirees to buy their homes so they are going to offer what people want.
In these cases, it sounds like buying less (particularly in square footage) doesn’t necessarily mean buying less.