We already have discussed the migration habits of millennials after the Great Recession. Now, we’ll discuss the migration habits of the baby boomer generation and the similarities as well as differences to those of millennials.
How Often Seniors Move
Seniors have traditionally been more sedentary than younger people. They tend to move less often, but when they move they often make drastic changes. For instance, some seniors, after retirement, may decide to move from the city to the country. Others may change states, preferring to live where there are higher concentrations of other seniors. Whatever the case, in 2004-2005, people fifty-five years and older moved at a rate of 2.5 versus 9.0 for younger Americans. By 2006-2007, those numbers dropped to 2.0 and 7.5, respectively. In 2007-2008, senior migration lowered slightly to about 1.75 and remained between 1.5 and 2.0 through 2016-2017, showing fewer fluctuations than the migration rate of younger people.
Where Do Seniors Move To and From
For people fifty-five years and older, the top migration magnets from 2004-2007 were Phoenix, Atlanta, Dallas, Tampa, and Houston. From 2007-2012, seniors preferred Phoenix, Riverside, Tampa, Austin, and Atlanta; and from 2012-2017, the fifty-five plus sect preferred Phoenix, Tampa, Riverside, Las Vegas, and Jacksonville. In all three time periods, Phoenix was a draw for between 16,000 and 18,275 seniors. The second city on the list each year saw fewer than 10,000 senior migrants.
It’s clear the migration patterns for seniors is different from that of younger persons. While both preferred the Sun Belt, the migration pattern for seniors is narrower, less diverse. The metro areas with the largest net migration losses for seniors included New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington D.C. for all three time periods. However, New Orleans was among the top five pre-recession while San Francisco made the top five in both time periods post-recession. It appears that seniors want to stay away from New York and California while migrating toward Florida and Arizona, or the southwest.
Other Ways Seniors Differ From Millennials in Migration Patterns
Millennials tend to shy away from pricey areas, or metro areas where the cost of living is high. However, they are spread out more broadly across the country than seniors, who also prefer to stay away from places with a high cost of living. Millennials also prefer local economies based on education or knowledge, areas known for their sophistication rather than luxury. And they are more mobile than their older counterparts, able to shift to meet new opportunities as they arise. Seniors prefer warmer climates, areas rich with recreational opportunities, and places known for attracting retirees.
In all three time periods, both seniors and millennials moved away from New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago in droves. The net migration magnets for both cohorts were most similar prior to the Great Recession when both seniors and millennials preferred Phoenix, Atlanta, and Houston. The differences were millennials chose Riverside and Charlotte more often while seniors moved to Dallas and Tampa more often. New Census Bureau information indicates millennials today prefer educated places highly affordable economies, such as Minneapolis and Kansas City. Information regarding these migration flows is taken from a study by the Brookings Institution.
Where Should You Invest in Real Estate?
It’s clear from this data that real estate investors interested in targeting millennials and those targeting seniors will want to look at different areas and demographics. The Sun Belt is hot for both markets, but seniors, who are likely downsizing, prefer retirement locales while young millennials prefer places with educational amenities such as book stores, museums, and colleges. These observations should be true whether you invest in traditional real estate or invest through a marketplace lending platform like Sharestates.