I believe that home improvements will continue to be a major expenditure item for the baby boomer generation.  The baby boomers will choose to stay in their homes.  Although on occasion articles are published that project a sell-off in housing as the baby boomers reach age 65, I don’t think this is likely to happen.  The articles never fully explain where the “unhoused baby boomers” are planning to live.  I always get the sense that the person writing the articles thinks that age 65 is really old and there is little left to be done in one’s life.  Other writers mention big city condos as a trend for retirees but again I don’t anticipate them appealing to many baby boomers due to the maintenance fees and the small square footage.  Instead I believe that they will remain in place and invest in home modifications to suit their changing needs.  The top three influencers on home improvement spending are:

  1.  An aging population means that, on average, home owners will be older and have changing needs.
  2. Canada’s housing stock is aging.  People on average are living in older homes and updating is needed.
  3. Baby boomers are less mobile than in earlier years and any drop in housing values will reduce mobility further, motivating them to make their existing house their castle.

The baby boomers are already big spenders on home improvements and this trend will grow.  With more space in their homes now that the kids gone, they will redevelop the empty space into their ‘castle’.  They want updated homes and will modify their living space to include luxury items such as home gyms and theatres.  Their houses will be maintained for their own personal enjoyment as well as part of ‘tending’ to their estate for their children.  Their homes will continue to be viewed as a key component of their estate plans.  Home renovations are investments intended to improve the value of the estate.

The boomers will eventually admit to feeling the effects of aging.  As age-related health changes take place, additional renovations will be made to help ensure aging-in-place.  They will also choose to gift home renovations projects to adult children.  This will help ease the demands of working and raising a family.  The boomers were the first generation to experience this dual challenge and they will want to make things easier for their own children.  Or, just maybe, the baby boomers will help improve their adult children’s living spaces to ensure that they never move back home with mom and dad.  Whatever the motivation, there’s bound to be significant home improvement spending over the next couple of decades.  There may be temporary downturns during periods of economic challenge, but these will be temporary.  The baby boomers will continue to expect quality living environments for many years to come.