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Southland Home Buyers Think Bigger

May 27, 2002|Daryl Strickland

Southern Californians will move up into larger homes at a faster pace over the next two years than Americans elsewhere in the U.S., reflecting a larger, aging populace, a report shows.

The study, based on a nationwide analysis of U.S. Census data, found that the fastest-growing segment of home buyers nationwide is the baby boom generation--Americans born from 1946 through 1964--and those in their 60s.

These buyers will boost growth for both upscale and vacation homes, said John Burns, an Irvine real estate consultant who completed the report released Friday.

Increasingly, buyers will be grayer as the number of younger consumers shrinks because of lower birth rates.

"Older buyers will dominate the new-home market for years to come," Burns said.

In Southern California, he said, resort areas such as Palm Springs, Big Bear, Santa Barbara and San Diego should thrive in the next decade.

So-called move-up buyers, a lucrative part of the Southland market, will plateau in 2004, Burns said; their numbers will record little change over the rest of the decade.

He said the market for traditional entry-level buyers--married couples in their early 30s--is declining nationwide, causing less need to build housing for that group.

Lower-cost or affordable housing will remain in high demand, Burns said, but buyers will come from a wide range of ages and family compositions.

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