At housing conferences, its common to hear apartment owners or developers talk about how baby boomer demand in certain projects has surprised them. That theory is often cited in the media as well. But Patrick Simmons, director, strategic planning, economic and strategic research, the baby boomer cohort isn't what's driving apartment demand.
By far, the most important generational driver of apartment demand growth between 2009 and 2014 was the Millennials. Millennials have been reaching adulthood and entering the housing market in large numbers in recent years. For many of these new housing market entrants, the first step in their housing careers after leaving the parental nest has been occupancy of an apartment.
Simmons also points to one possible reason for the misconception.
Another reason for the misperception of surging Boomer apartment demand might be that commentators are focused on the largest buildings, which have seen more rapid gains in Boomer demand in recent years. Whereas the number of Boomer occupants in apartment buildings with 50 or more units increased by 16 percent between 2009 and 2014, Boomer occupancy in apartment buildings of all sizes grew by just 5 percent during the same period.