Thanks to its reasonable cost of living index (-2.8% lower than the U.S. average), housing affordability (median sale price of $182,100., up 7.9% over last year) and good climate, Charlotte, North Carolina is red hot with Baby Boomers these days. Nationally, the 65 and up set has grown 27% from 2010 -2015, according to the U.S, Census Bureau. In Charlotte’s Mecklenburg County, the 55 and up set has grown 20% in this same time frame.
Scott Rasner, an architect who has been creating housing and communities to serve the Baby Boomer demographic for more than 20 years with BB&M Architecture, says that up to 20% of the U.S. population could be living in senior housing over the next few decades. With over 10,000 people a day entering this demographic, it’s no wonder the need for more senior housing is on the rise and will continue to grow.
According to Rasner, “This (Baby Boomer demographic) is not a one-size-fits-all market anymore. Consumers are demanding a choice.” And Charlotte is responding to those demands. Developers are offering non-institutional choices with a range of housing options. Individual homes, small townhouses, for sale condominiums, large apartment facilities, assisted living facilities to segue into when needed and amenities such as luxury spas, Tai Chi gardens, meditation spaces, shared office space, and multiple dining options are springing up in and around Charlotte. “Providers are trying to increase interest in their housing product through some of these niceties that they’re adding…there is way more variety of activities than there used to be.”
Of course, not every resident or person soon to become a Charlotte resident is a Baby Boomer. Many Millennials and Gen-Xers and their young families are moving to Charlotte for all the reasons Boomers are. “Developers are seeing opportunities for large, mixed-use projects in Charlotte…housing, parks, shops, restaurants…none of us wants to be isolated from one another, particularly seniors…the Boomer housing trend today in Charlotte is away from behind brick walled developments…and towards living in multi generational communities so they (Boomers) can become a part of something larger than themselves…” says Rasner.