Retirees are a rising force in Northern Colorado real estate

Colorado is a magnet for millennials. That generation of young adults that falls roughly between the ages of 21 and 38 is understandably lured to these parts by mountains and sunshine and the types of jobs that are worth moving for.

But it’s not the only generation that we see making a monumental impact on our state’s economy in the near future.

Colorado’s population of residents who are 65 years of age and older is also on the rise (between Larimer and Weld counties alone, Census estimates show nearly 80,000 65+ residents in this region). And it’s a trend that ought to influence the local housing market in meaningful ways. More on that later.

There are multiple drivers behind the upswing in the 65+ population. First, we can harken back to the wave of young baby boomers who were flocking to Colorado in the 1970s and 1980s, making this state one of the youngest in average age for that time.

Well, many of those people stayed put, and they are now at or near retirement age.

Next, Colorado has gained a national reputation as a top state to relocate for retirement — for example, WalletHub recently picked Colorado as the third best state for retirement.

Factors such as low property taxes, access to quality health care, and relative affordability compared to coastal states, are all attractive to senior citizens. Additionally, active retirees like mountains and sunshine just as much as the rest of us.

And remember those millennials we mentioned at the beginning? For retirees who want to be close to their kids and grandkids, one migrating generation is bound to entice another generation.

Here’s what it means to the real estate market:

The 65+ population is largely looking for independent housing, but it isn’t necessarily interested in the responsibility of keeping up with a traditional single-family home with a yard. There is a significant and rising need for continued development of senior housing, characterized by smaller, more affordable and manageable home inventory such as patio homes and ranch-style floor plans.

The challenge is not only for homebuilders in Northern Colorado, but community policymakers who can take the opportunity to draw a roadmap for future housing development that will answer this increasing need.

Inventory makes big jump in January

Northern Colorado has been saddled by a lack of housing supply for several years running. And the low inventory — not any shortage of demand — has been the primary reason for a slower pace in housing sales.

But if January is any indication, there could be a shift in the works. Local inventory in January made an impressive jump of 26 percent over January 2018. That translated to an additional 391 homes for sale over the same month last year.

While single-family inventory was up 20.6 percent in January, it was attached housing — condominiums and townhomes — which made the biggest impression, increasing 50.4 percent last year.

While it’s early to call this a trend, it bears watching to see if housing inventory will be turning the corner in 2019.

Brandon Wells is president of The Group Inc. Real Estate, founded in Fort Collins in 1976 with six locations in Northern Colorado 

Colorado is a magnet for millennials. That generation of young adults that falls roughly between the ages of 21 and 38 is understandably lured to these parts by mountains and sunshine and the types of jobs that are worth moving for.

But it’s not the only generation that we see making a monumental impact on our state’s economy in the near future.

Colorado’s population of residents who are 65 years of age and older is also on the rise (between Larimer and Weld counties alone, Census estimates show nearly 80,000 65+ residents in this region). And it’s a trend that ought to influence the local housing market in meaningful ways. More on that later.

There are multiple drivers behind the upswing in the 65+ population. First, we can harken back to the wave of young baby boomers who were flocking to Colorado in the 1970s and 1980s, making this state one of the youngest in average age for that time.

Well, many of those people stayed put, and they are now at or near retirement age.

Next, Colorado has gained a national reputation as a top state to relocate for retirement — for example, WalletHub recently picked Colorado as the third best state for retirement.

Factors such as low property taxes, access to quality health care, and relative affordability compared to coastal states,…