Revving up rental in retirement

January 4, 2018 / Insights / min read

Communications Director

Baby Boomers no longer yearn for the peace and quiet of the countryside; the spirit of retirement has completed changed. It could be argued that we now have a 60+ generation who are poised and ready for a second adulthood, one that’s liberated from childcare, packed schedules and even the burden of home ownership.

It goes without saying that this is a smart and savvy group of renters who expect more from their properties. They might be downsizing their homes, but they have no intention of downsizing their lifestyles. They want homes with a certain swagger.

A recent report in the United States highlighted that the over-60’s have become the fastest growing group of renters across the nation. Since they typically have more money to spend than their millennial counter-parts, as well as higher expectations, developers are dedicating significant resources to figuring out how to appeal to them.

At figure3 we believe that “retirement” is an outdated concept. The word suggests a desire to step back and withdraw which is the last thing this cohort, with more time and enough money, want to do.


Retired people may want a smaller home that is easier to manage, or a place they can lock up and leave while they gallivant around the world, but they definitely don’t want to feel they are living in a development for “old” people.

With that in mind, here are VP of Residential Development Dominic De Freitas’s key considerations for purpose built rental developers looking to include Zoomers in their buildings:

Consider how the building and the marketing will have broad appeal

What millennials and boomers both want is a low-maintenance lifestyle in a connected environment; either downtown or in the suburbs. What they don’t want is to be marketed and sold to as if they were nothing but a demographic.

I find we can bring the most value to our clients when we’re brought in as early as possible. The interior design of a building is really the glue on every residential project. We have to take a holistic approach.

We’re as connected to the sales and marketing strategy as we are to the architecture and the mechanical and electrical engineers.

The narrative of any development, and the lifestyle it’s seeking to evoke, is crucial and we’re the through line of all of it.

When developers bring their interior teams in as early as possible, we play a crucial role in making sure the architecture, the interior and the marketing are all seamlessly linked to deliver a sophisticated message to attract the right tenant to the building.

Don’t forget your marketing suite

Purpose built rental buildings, and the developers behind them, have taken a leaf out of the condo playbook: marketing suites.

Typically, we’re carving out space for marketing suites on the ground floor adjacent to the main arrival lobby where the property leasing teams take care of prospective tenants.

In our work with Trinity San Francisco, we convinced the client to set aside three show apartments; a studio, a one-bed and a two-bed. Being able to properly showcase everything the purpose built rental building has to offer absolutely pays dividends.

The amenities arms race

As apartments are shrinking, common areas are expanding and are being designed to meet the needs of tenants who want to gather socially or do work there. Residents use these spaces for socializing with other residents and guests, or as ad hoc living space.

Common areas are being equipped with the technology needed to facilitate these live-work interactions. USB ports, dependable WiFi, iCafes, and other Web-access features are now common practice.

To withstand greater usage, we are specifying materials for common areas that are more durable without sacrificing any wow-factor.

Don’t forget four-legged friends

A concern for plenty of downsizers is giving up back yards that make having four legged friends at home much easier.

Pet owners can account for anything between 20-90% of a building’s occupiers. At minimum, they expect their residential communities to offer animal grooming services and exclusive recreational areas for pets.



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