Baby Boomers in Clearwater Beach versus San Diego

Today we have a guest post for on Roberta Murphy, a top Realtor who specializes in San Diego relocation. We’ve known Roberta for over five years and she is who we consult with and refer our clients to when they decide to relocate to the San Diego area. I hope you enjoy her insightful observations about one of the fastest growing segments of our real estate market – the Baby Boomers. This is a topic near and dear to our heart because in the early 90’s Jack and I volunteered and helped start the Area Agency on Aging for Pinellas and Pasco County. We learned about the issues and challenges people face at this stage of life.  Almost universally people when asked, will tell you they want to age in place – which means planning ahead now when choosing where to live.  Thanks Roberta for sharing…

Baby Boomers – A growing part of Clearwater Beach and San Diego

Baby Boomers have always kind of been the noisy sort, and more and more we are hearing their wishes in unison.  And for some reason, I doubt that boomers seeking homes in Clearwater Beach are very different from those seeking a coastal home in San Diego, perhaps a local farmers market ethnic bakery, museums, shopping and dry cleaners. They would happily go days without driving a car–unless it’s a golf cart.

Though home prices in San Diego are still higher than those in Clearwater, the ones that hold their values best in both cities would be those near the beach, sand and other amenities.  And that is the lifestyle so many retiring Baby Boomers are seeking.

We work with a number of baby boomers who are either moving to or within the San Diego area, and know that the Haydon team works with similar homebuyers moving to Clearwater. These folks are seeking to downsize and move away from soccer fields, elementary school crossings, cul de sacs, lawns that need mowing and windshields that need de-icing in winter.

What do many of these Boomers want & what are we hearing?

  1. They want to be able to lock and go. Boomers want to travel and not have to worry about security back home. Urban cottages are charming, but spacious mid and high rise condos also work really well–especially with security systems in place.
  2. They want to be able to walk no more than a block or two to get a morning cup of coffee or evening tapas. It would also be nice to take that sleeve-wrapped cup of coffee and the morning newspaper to a park or pier bench where one can read and enjoy the scent of fresh-mown grass or the salty sea air.  Alternatively, that  coffee might fit nicely into a golf cart’s cup holder.
  3. Boomers also want nearby restaurants, a bookstore, a
  4. Public transportation is good. In coastal San Diego, many village dwellers live not far from a train station, where the train will take them up and down the coast, where they can wine and dine in San Diego’s Gaslamp area and then catch the train back to Del Mar or Oceanside. No designated driver required.
  5. Views tend to be important with this group. It is good when they can see the ocean or mountains from their living and bedroom windows. Clearwater Beach has stunning views of its own.
  6. Proximity to the ocean is very important for many of the clients with whom both Cyndee and we work. It could be an energy attraction between the salt and water in our own bodies and that in the ocean. Then again, it may simply be the sound or smell or the hypnotic appeal of the waves.
  7. A casual local ambience that accepts shorts and flip flops (or running shoes) is also appealing. Most beach and resort restaurants really don’t care and it makes for easy wardrobe selection. Its also nice to have the climate that allows for this year-round dressing option.
  8. These Boomers are not seeking a Del Webb lifestyle. They want the energy of commerce, the diversity of people, and ocean proximity. They may or may not care about golf, but if they do, San Diego is loaded with golfing opportunities. Golf in Clearwater is pretty appealing, too!
  9. Quality medical care is important. San Diego is blessed with excellent medical facilities and physicians. Some of our country’s top medical practitioners have also chosen San Diego as the ideal place to live. Again, Clearwater and Clearwater Beach will also attract medical talent that wants a lifestyle most in the world would envy.

It is interesting to see how Baby Boomers are already beginning to reshape the urban and village landscapes in San Diego County and how the cities and builders are responding.

Roberta asked me what we’re seeing today in the Clearwater Beach area and I explained since we’re completely built out, we see people choosing to live in communities that are more condusive to walking and are properties that are remodeled with universal design in mind and of course nothing beats what our beach lifestyle has to offer (of course I”m a little biased).

How do you think an aging population will change where people choose to live?

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