Photo courtesy of Robert Hensley via a Creative Commons license

Photo courtesy of Robert Hensley via a Creative Commons license

Dallas is one of 15 top markets poised to attract baby boomer homebuyers because of an affordable cost of living, sunny weather, and friendly business climate, according to new research by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

NAR looked at 100 metro areas with lower state taxes (or none at all, as is the case in Texas), stable job market conditions, and strong migration patterns of “leading-edge baby boomers” (those 60-69) moving to that area. By doing this, they predicted which housing markets are likely to see a boost from baby boomers. Cost of living, housing affordability, and housing inventory availability were also factors in their rankings.

For these reasons, Dallas was identified as one of five markets with strong potential for attracting baby boomer homebuyers.

“It comes down to housing affordability, and lower tax rates in the Dallas area and the state as a whole,” said Adam DeSanctis, NAR economic issues media manager. “More boomers after 65 are working, some because they have to, or feel like they have to, but also those that are healthier and want to maintain an active lifestyle. Those [baby boomer] business owners come to Dallas for its dynamic local economy.”


Coventry Front

You just have to love how homes change as demographics age. Now that Baby Boomers are retiring, a growing number of single-family homes are being marketed just to this demographic.

So I wasn’t surprised to get this note from superstar Dave Perry-Miller agent Christine McKenny (woman is ON FIRE!) about a very special listing in the Downs. With almost 5,000 square feet, four bedrooms and four full and two half baths, well, you get plenty of space without having too much at 2 Coventry Court. Here’s how Christine put it:

“There are so many empty nesters looking for a master down with the majority of the square feet on the main level. This property also offers both the master down as well as an additional bedroom down. It is also one of only a handful of homes in the Downs that offers a complete private zen landscape with flagstone deck, arbor with fans and lights, redone pool and a small yard that is lushly landscaped. (Yes, a small yard in the zero-lot-line subdivision!)”

Yep, this house has exactly what every Baby Boomer wants. What do you think?

Coventry Living Coventry Kitchen Breakfast Coventry master Coventry Backyard

boulder front

Southlake is such a fabulous town, with great schools, incredible shopping, and beautiful neighborhoods. I just love this area, which is perfect for families with school-aged kids. But what if your nest is empty and you’re not expecting a boomerang kid? Downsizing has probably crossed your mind.

That’s what Merlene Ingraham and her husband are doing. They’re selling their barely-lived-in Southlake home and heading closer to Dallas, like many Baby Boomers, so they can be close to the arts.

Boulder staircases

This house is just magnificent, with four bedrooms, four full bathrooms and one half bath, more than 5,800 square feet and the most amazing finish-out you can imagine. Really, I am in awe of 517 Boulder Drive, which is marketed by Dave Perry-Miller agent Christine McKenny for $865,000. Plus, it’s hardly been lived in at all. This home has so much visual impact, from the pristine, white exterior to the twin staircases in the foyer, your eyes will just pop.

Boulder Kitchen

My favorite part of this home, which will surprise absolutely no one, is this bright and beautiful kitchen with cottage-style white cabinets and stainless steel appliances. There’s an ample island, too, for preparing feasts for all occasions or perhaps just being a gathering space for girlfriends as you gab over glasses of Pinot. It’s open to the living area, too, which has high ceilings and huge windows.

Boulder pool:backyard

The master bath is amazing, too, with a soaking tub and luxurious tile, but the place I can see myself relaxing is the backyard. I just love the garden, which has a great English feel with short, wandering hedges. The pool is just beautiful, too. But it’s pretty large for just two people, right? I’m sure Merlene and her husband will find a gorgeous condo near the Dallas Arts District that will give them everything they need.


Tatum Brown Custom Builders, Mark Hoesterery architect

Because of sad family circumstances, I missed this year’s American Institute of Architects Dallas home tour on Saturday and Sunday. Two homes behind me that I have watched with amazement, 11310 Crestbrook Dr. and 6265 Boca Raton Dr. were on tour and I would have loved to get inside. The Boca Raton home was designed by Gary Olp of GGO Architects, who I have asked to guest post for this blog. It’s also a powerhouse of green and slated for LEED-H Platinum certification, the highest rating in the system. The Crestbrook abode is a gallery of windows, acting as a sieve for tons of natural light. What I’m told is that the homes, which were built at the same time, are family members who choose to live next door to each other — mother and daughter. And that, I think, is just wonderful.

This area is also loaded with new custom homes, many of which are being built by baby boomers shedding larger lots or moving north from Park Cities for more garden space — half an acre. Tatum Brown Custom Homes, who built this stunner designed by Mark Hoesterey with HSM, and other builders have been busy as beavers over here. I’m told that Crestbrook is one of the hottest hoods with the custom guys.

More photos on the AIA home tour’s website. And I’ll dig out more photos of what we call around here the “family compound”.

Recall our tither about staging a home for sale with our furry friends — to do or not to do, and do we take them to the Dry Bar first? Well, here we see two little peek-a-boo angels who seem to be enhancing these photos. I’m becoming more convinced that I want my dogs in the graphics when I decide to sell my home. And Kristian Peterson agrees!

Wait. Do you think these angels were saying they had to go potty? BTW this is a great town home listing at 4356 Wsetside Drive in West Highland Park at the  Mews Townhomes. Over-sized front entry garden with flagstone patio, back garden with walled water fountain, the cozy interior includes hardwood floors,wood-burning fireplace and ten foot ceilings. Do not have to tell you how secure and wonderfully convenient WHP is to everything, one reason why it is so popular with Baby Boomers, empty nesters and young ones.

Another one of those inane magazine surveys, but this one is a hoot and really ought to be one of Rick Perry’s talking points: according to Men’s Health magazine, three of four major Texas cities are in the top ten list of America’s most sex-happy cities. That is, these are the cities where people appear to be having more great sex than others, determined by looking at condom purchasing rates, buying of sex toys, birth rates (the whoopsie factor) and STD’s (gross). The top Texas cities on the list are Austin, number one, Dallas, the number two spot in fact, and — this is really amazing — Arlington, seventh. Must have something to do with the Rangers. Or maybe the Superbowl last winter.

Most of the top sex-happy U.S. cities are in the south, where the most unhappy sex cities (they don’t buy condoms, sex toys, get preggers or catch STDs) seem to be in the northeast. I’ve lived in the northeast. Not surprising. I am surprised, however, that sunny California did not make the top ten. Could be that despite that “peace and love” exterior, Californians are really quite an uptight, messed up bunch who spend way too much time stressing in traffic which decreases fertility rates, among other things. At least Texans are smart enough to use condoms, which indicates that whoever is having sex in the Lone Star State must be under age 45. Studies show the dumbest age group when it comes to condom use are Baby Boomers over age 45 who think because they no longer have to worry about pregnancy, they no longer need to use condoms. That’s why STD rates have more than doubled in this age group! Triple gross!

I propose another reason: we have better master bedrooms in Texas.

This article in the Washington Post says that Baby Boomers are changing the face of suburbia and staying put, rather than retiring to the likes of Florida and Arizona, as their parents did, once they retire. The U.S. Census showed how rapidly America’s suburbs are growing — despite efforts to squeeze us into greener, urban multi-family residential cells and one family car — the Baby Boomers are staying put and, in some cases, buying vacation homes on the equity they’ve built in those suburban homes.

But all this is going to mean big changes for the suburbs. Can you imagine, for example, a group of militant citizens clamouring for convertion of pedestrian traffic signals to countdowns so people can gauge whether they have enough time to cross… in their walkers?

Fairfax County, VA now has forums on kitchen and bath remodeling designs that make the areas accessible for wheelchair users. It has collaborated with George Mason University, offering a course on coping during retirement. And a police unit has been formed to focus on financial fraud committed against the elderly. In suburban Washington, D.C., 27% or 1.5 million are Baby Boomers and no longer spring chickens. Can you imagine the shouting matches at civic meetings between parents demanding bigger classrooms and Boomers demanding bigger sidewalks for wheelchairs? The driving scares me the most: I remember how I worried about my mother driving and she drove until the day she died at age 88.

There were 76 million people born between 1946 and 1964 — I was one. We were the very first generation to grow up in suburbia, because our parents settled the suburbs like good pilgrims post World War II. Maybe it just feels more comfortable, but the suburbs are where many of us chose to rear our children. It was unusual that we were able to live in the city of Dallas, not a suburb, but still have a suburban feel. That is because, north of Uptown, Dallas neighborhoods WERE the suburbs.

And everyone was surprised when the 2010 Census showed how much faster the suburbs are growing with older populations when compared with the cities. Four in 10 suburban residents are 45 or older, up from 34 percent just a decade ago. Only 35% of city residents are 45 or older, an increase from 31 percent in the last census, and a clear indication that cities have become havens for the young offspring of the wealthy who can cram into small apartments, work at low-level creative jobs, and count on a check from mom and dad each month to help support them.

“During the past decade, the ranks of people who are middle-aged and older grew 18 times as fast as the population under 45, according to Brookings Institution demographer William Frey, who analyzed the 2010 Census data on age for his report, “The Uneven Aging and ‘Younging’ of America.” For the first time, they represent a majority of the nation’s voting-age population.”

This generation — my generation — will treat aging unlike our parents did. We will break the old people rules mold, and that will be reflected in our real estate buying as well. My guess: we stay in our homes as long as possible, make banks out of them if we can in the form of reverse mortgages, and travel travel travel. Once the tax bases get too painful, we will sell the family homes and by the way, there will be a sweet spot of when to do this so as to not flood the market. I think unusual, out-of-the box forms of home ownership and things like fractional home ownership are going to explode in the next decade for the upper middle class as will ownership of ranches and small beach houses, outright or shared. We are the Kumbaya generation and used to living in dorms. We are going to demand accommodations for our aching feet and backs, faltering eyes and ears.

But then, the final shelter: my son gave me a sign to hang in our hallway that reads, “Be nice to the kids: they select the nursing home!”

Here in Dallas, do you think Boomers will stay in the suburbs or hit the trail? Comment lines are open!