In an area known for spacious homes and fantastic school districts for raising families, Bucks County baby boomers are facing some unexpected housing challenges.
Many boomers chose their homes with schools and commutes in mind. As they raised families, they enjoyed manicured yards and tending for their homes. But with large property comes large responsibility. “The amount of upkeep on these big properties can be far higher than people expect,” says Jacqueline Hillgrube, REALTOR®. “As the boomer generation become empty nesters, they no longer want the responsibility and cost of all the land.”
Most would also like to spend a little less on their smaller home than they sold their large property for. This is where the disconnect can come in. Borough prices are steadily climbing with the inventory at rock bottom. Buyers can become disillusioned as they discover that homes in a mid-range price range are extremely difficult to come by, and the kind of homes they are used to can often be significantly more expensive than the large properties they are leaving behind.
But where do they want to move and what options do they have? “Boomers are overwhelmingly looking to move into the desirable Boroughs of Newtown, New Hope, Doylestown, and Yardley where they can stroll out of their front door and enjoy the shops and restaurants,” explains Hillgrube, an expert in the Bucks County market since 2004.
Hillgrube said this can cause problems because, “Sellers wait, and wait, and wait to sell their large properties hoping that more inventory comes up in the Boroughs.”
Most plan, Hillgrube explained, to buy their new home before they sell their existing home. Since we are currently in a seller’s market, they know that their property may sell fast while finding a new home can take a lot of time due to the low inventory. This means additional challenges for real estate agents; “I am in constant communication with agents in the Boroughs looking for new listings which may be coming up so I can get my clients into them as soon as possible,” Hillgrube said.
The good news is that with low market inventory sellers can command top dollar for their property. Meaning they may have to hunt a little longer but they can probably get a smaller home and leave with a little money in their pocket.
Developers are rising to the challenge and creating in-town home options, but the challenge with these, says Hillgrube, is that new construction taxes can be a shock to local buyers who find that taxes on a much smaller new construction home can be as high or higher than they are used to paying on their large properties. Often these desirable home options go to Mercer County buyers who consider the new construction taxes a bargain compared to their local taxes which once again leaves Bucks County buyers waiting to make their move.
When asked if Boomers are concerned about their options, Jackie says not. “They are not in a rush. When they decide to sell they are willing to wait for the right buyer and want to know where they are moving.”
It's clear that Boomers want to stay in Bucks County and enjoy the beauty, culture and shopping options that local Boroughs offer, but to have it all they are going to have to take a leap.