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Field Guide to Marketing to the 50+ Population

(Updated February 2013)
The over-50 population is a growing force in America and the rate of home ownership is higher among this age group than in any other. Today's seniors have more active lifestyles, are more affluent and if they "downsize" their homes it is in square footage rather than price. This field guide offers articles, statistical data and links to help REALTORS® gain insight into this lucrative demographic. (C. Dodge, Information Specialist)

2009 Home Ownership: Rates by Age 

  • 65+:   80.5%
  • 55-64: 79.5%
  • 45-54: 74.4%
  • 35-44: 66.2%
  • < 35:   39.7%

Source: Homeownership Rates By Age, (U.S. Census Bureau, Dec. 15, 2010).

Housing & the Over-50 Demographic

Coldwell Banker Real Estate Survey Reveals Home Buying Differences Between Older and Younger Baby Boomers, (Market Watch.com, Oct. 11, 2011)

The case for downsizing your home, (SmartMoney.com, Sept. 14, 2011).

Reverse mortgages don't always work, (USA Today, Sept. 12, 2011).

At the end of the road, (New York Times, Aug. 29, 2011).

Housing turnover by older owners, (Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, Mar. 2011).

10 things you should know about reverse mortgages, (AARP, Feb. 11, 2011).

Seniors Looking to Downsize, Seek Opportunities to Socialize in Urban Living Areas, (Realty Times, Apr. 30, 2009).

Assisted living to fuel seniors housing expansion, survey shows, (National Real Estate Investor, Apr. 2009) Q

Marketing Tips & Strategies

Boomers hunt for smaller houses, (RIS Media, Sept. 8, 2011).

Retirees Fastest-Growing Users of Social Networks, (U.S News & World Report, Aug. 30, 2011).

Generational marketing to boomers takes business to the heart of the matter, (Huffington Post, Aug. 19, 2011).

Big-spending Boomers bend rules of marketing, (USA Today, Nov. 16, 2010).

Baby boomers become buyers, (TheRealDeal.com, Jan. 1, 2010).

Related Websites

Information for Senior Citizens, (U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development).

Housing Choices, (Senior Resource.com)

Leading Age (AAHSA)

eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Boomer Basics (Adobe eReader)

Future Marketing: Targeting Seniors, Boomers, and Generations X and Y (Adobe eReader)

Generation Blend, Managing Across the Technology Age Gap (Overdrive WMA Audiobook)

Gilbert Guide to Senior Housing (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Complying with the ADA

Field Guide to Fair Housing

Field Guide to Reverse Mortgages

InfoCentral Blog

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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.