Property Decisions of the Over 50s: A Generation's Unique Perspective - October 2023
October 30, 2023 / Written by Mark McCrindle
The over 50s demographic, encompassing Generation X and Baby Boomers, is a unique and diverse group of individuals who have experienced a multitude of societal, economic, and technological changes throughout their lives. This generation represents a significant portion of the population and has distinct features, income levels, influencers, preferences, ambitions, and goals that play a pivotal role in their property decisions.
Unique Features of Generation X and Baby Boomers:
Generation X, currently in their mid-forties to late fifties, is characterised by their adaptability and resilience. They grew up during a time when computers were introduced in schools and homes, experiencing the rise of working parents and higher divorce rates. Referred to as the "latch-key kids," they learned independence and developed a peer-oriented mindset. Generation X has a significant presence in the workforce and combines traditional and digital thinking, shaped by cultural events like the 1987 stock market crash, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the rise of the two-income family. They value work-life balance, family unity, and have shifted the paradigm of marriage to later years.
Baby Boomers, on the other hand, were born during a post-World War II population boom. They witnessed transformative events such as the moon landing and the civil rights movement, which instilled in them a sense of possibility and adventure. Their childhood was characterised by outdoor activities, community trust, and entertainment in the form of vinyl records and television. Today's Baby Boomers redefine expectations for their life stage, buying and selling property later in life and remaining active in the workforce, driven by improved life and health realities. They have adapted to technology and continue to integrate it into their lives.
Key Decision Drivers for the Over 50s:
The ambitions, goals, and dreams of Generation X and Baby Boomers heavily influence their property decisions. For Generation X, financial freedom and independence are top priorities, with 66% aspiring to achieve it. They also wish to travel and see the world (55%), pursue interest and hobbies (54%), free up time and spend it with those they love (53%) and own their own home (44%). On the other hand, Baby Boomers, while sharing the aspiration for financial freedom, (59%), also prioritise pursuing interests and hobbies (55%), travelling (43%) spending time with those they love (41%) and living a sustainable lifestyle (38%).
Property Preferences and Lifestyle Goals:
These ambitions of the over 50s greatly influence their choices regarding where to live and what type of property they prefer. Many still cherish the traditional quarter-acre block with a spacious yard, ideal for backyard cricket. Others opt for the convenience and vibrant community atmosphere of compact inner-city living. Their property decisions often align with their goals, with some seeking a peaceful suburban life and others enjoying the hustle and bustle of city living. This generation's diverse preferences are a reflection of their unique life experiences and values.
Long-Term Housing Planning:
Do the over 50s think strategically about their long-term housing needs and plans for the future? It is clear that many do. Both Generation X and Baby Boomers exhibit a strong desire for financial independence and prioritise owning their own homes. These ambitions are indicative of their long-term planning and the importance they place on securing their future. Their choices reflect a mix of traditional and modern ideals, and they are not immune to the changing property landscape currently present in today’s society. However, rising house prices, particularly in the capital cities, pose significant challenges for both Generation X and Baby Boomers. The disparity between house prices and wages has expanded over the years, making it imperative for these over 50’s to think strategically about their property investments. Though, this generation's experiences serve as a lesson for future generations to plan wisely and adapt to the changing property landscape.
Learnings from the Over 50s:
The over 50s generation teaches us valuable lessons about the way they think about property assets. Their adaptability, resilience, and pursuit of financial freedom are all qualities that can inspire younger generations. They showcase that property decisions should align with personal goals and ambitions, which can be a key driver for longterm financial security. Furthermore, the over 50s highlight the importance of flexibility and the ability to adapt to societal and economic changes, as they have done throughout their lives.
The over 50s generation showcases a unique perspective on property decisions driven by their ambitions, preferences, and long-term planning. Their experiences and values offer valuable insights for individuals of all ages looking to make informed property decisions in a dynamic and ever-changing real estate market
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