There is a shift underway—an unexpected one—that may affect the supply of Boise homes for sale.
Experts project housing needs based upon measurable data. But sometimes, unexpected trends
The frequently cited nationwide housing shortage is largely ascribed to a falloff in builders willing
to enter the market—a phenomenon that’s backed up by housing starts statistics which continue to
register feeble readings. But now there is another phenomenon—one that has more to do with a cultural
shift linked to the growing population of senior citizens.
That demographic bulge has been long expected—it triggered a considerable wave of nursing home
construction. Yet those nursing home facilities are beginning to experience something totally unexpected:
a falloff in demand.
That’s exactly what’s happening across the country, according to Professor Timothy Bickmore of
Northeastern University. The Wall Street Journal estimates that “developers and senior-housing
companies have spent billions” within the past five years to provide housing and associated support for
the expected arrival of many of the 72,000,000 Boomers (those born between 1946 and 64). That’s one
out of every five Americans.
Elderly population up, nursing home population...lagging? What the-???-
The surprise has to do with the advent of technologies that make it easier for elderly homeowners to
stay in their homes. Typical Boise residents probably didn’t use to think of older folks as heading the
pack of early adopters, but that was before the Baby Boomers began to qualify for senior discounts.
Boomers were present for (and many, created) the computer age we’re living in—so it does make sense
that they might be ready, willing, and able to adapt to electronic change.
Those developments are part of new “aging-in-place” technologies. They include products and
services like sensors that respond to changes in medical conditions—and malleable house fixtures that can
be adjusted as residents age. Prof. Bickmore has been studying “chatbots”—automated virtual assistants
programmed to substitute for overworked healthcare professionals. In one hospital trial, discharge
interviews for departing patents were conducted by a “virtual nurse” which assembled the patient’s
records on the fly to create appropriate homecare instructions. The patients liked the virtual nurse—70%
chose it as a low-stress improvement over the human alternative!
If the raft of baby boomers do use technology to stay in their Boise homes longer than expected, a
housing inventory crunch may ultimately result. Fortunately, though, in the here-and-now, you will still
find a good number of attractive Boise offerings. Call me for a rundown!