Boomers, Empty Nesters Seeking Downtown Chicago Real Estate

CNBC reported last week that Chicago real estate (downtown or in the surrounding area) is “booming”–that is, the Baby Boomer generation in particular is saying goodbye to the ‘burbs and hello to life in the city.

There are a few reasons for the migration. First, Boomers are drawn to the dense areas of the city that put them close to restaurants, entertainment, cultural hot spots, shopping and more. Areas like Lincoln Park and Lakeview or even Chicago condos in the heart of downtown put you smack in the center of all of these things. And many Chicago neighborhoods offer the best of both worlds–a convenient close-to-everything location but with the residential feel of a suburban area.

As those in the Boomer generation become empty nesters, the hustle and bustle of the city is actually more appealing, not less. Being able to find something to do at a moment’s notice.

Secondly, the real estate market simply hasn’t been as good in the suburbs. Real estate in Chicago is improving, and is doing so faster than suburban real estate, which is somewhat flat. Now that the housing crash is essentially behind us, many near-retirees are no longer waiting on the sidelines to offload their big suburban homes and move into something smaller and more manageable like a Chicago condo.

Moving into the city doesn’t just set Boomers up for the next few years, but many see it as a more protected investment as well. CNBC reports that this generation is leary of losing their investments as many did with their retirement savings, and real estate in the city has held its value relatively well compared to the suburbs in recent years.

The third reason is familial. Boomers are moving into the city to be closer to their children who live there. The generational relationships between parents and their children have improved, and new grandmas and grandpas want to be involved in the everyday lives of their kin.

Urban Neighborhoods for the Boomer Generation

There are a few dense, convenient communities in Chicago that I always bring up to my clients who are looking into the different neighborhoods Chicago has to offer: downtown Chicago, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, The Gold Coast, Old Town, Streeterville, Bucktown and Wicker Park are a few. Residents of these areas don’t need to get in their cars and drive 15 minutes to the supermarket, and are often just a few steps away from coffee, a night out, the drugstore, or the theater.

Convenience aside, these areas retain their value better than their suburban counterparts and will be quicker to increase in value. The density and location cater to many different lifestyles and many of these long-standing neighborhoods never lose their appeal.

To take a tour through some of these Chicago neighborhoods or learn more about moving from the suburbs to the city, give me a call at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

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