When Bigger Means Better In Surprising New Statics

When Bigger Means Better In Surprising New Statics

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Bungalows, be gone. A surprising number of older homeowners seek more space.

Conventional wisdom suggests that as kids grow up and move out, their parents seeks a smaller home. Yet a notable number of older Americans are doing the opposite. Call it upsizing. A recent study of retirees by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave found that although about half had downsized, 30 percent moved into larger homes. A key reason was to accommodate visits from family or allow for the possibility that a relative might move in.

Other societal trends are also at play: As people continue to work later in life; many want space for a home office, says Cyndi Hutchins, director of financial gerontology for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Others are interested in staying fit at an advanced age, so installing a workout room holds appeal.

After their kids left for college, Katie and Bill Robertson, both 56, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, moved from a 3,000-square-foot 1920’s colonial to a midcentury modern home one and a half times bigger. Then their son, Nate 26, a graduate student, moved in to a part of the house with a separate kitchenette. “We’ve had a chance to spend time with him in a way we wouldn’t if we didn’t have this house,” says Katie.

Even among the traditional downsizers, the trend is changing. The National Association of Realtors report that in 2004, boomers downsized by 500 square feet, on average. In 2016, they decreased house size by only 100 square feet.-Julie Halpert.


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Dated: November 2nd 2017
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