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APARTMENT DEVELOPERS CATERING TO BABY BOOMERS WITH UPSCALE PROJECTS

 -- Older, Wealthier Renters Want Comfort, Space
 And A Lot Of Amenities And Developers Are Listening --
 NEW YORK, Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- As the population of younger, traditional renters begins to decline, builders are developing luxury apartments for a growing market of baby boomers who prefer renting to owning a home.
 The "permanent renter" is defined as someone ages 35 to 44, earning $35,000 or more, according to Multi-Housing News (MHN), a bi-monthly national trade magazine published by Miller Freemen, Inc. The number of households in this baby boomer group is projected to increase by more than 2.7 million between 1992 and 1997, according to an MHN report based on Census figures.
 By contrast, the renter group that is traditionally targeted by developers -- young people on their own for the first time, and those saving for a downpayment on a single family home, ages 18 to 34, earning $15,000 to $34,999 -- is expected to decrease by nearly 1.5 million by 1997.
 "Developers are banking on the idea that somewhere in this growing universe of baby boomers, some people would simply prefer to rent," said Laura Rowley, executive editor of MHN. "Given their income, they want the comfort and amenities that they could get if they bought a single- family home -- more space, designer kitchens and baths, direct-access garages and abundant recreational and business amenities."
 "All developers do market studies before they build -- what they're telling us is that in specific markets around the country, the `permanent renter' is becoming a reality," Rowley said. New luxury projects are cropping up around Dallas, Atlanta, Albuquerque, Charlotte, N.C., the suburbs of Washington D.C. and southern Florida, among other areas.
 These renters choose not to own a home for a number of reasons: they are transferred around frequently in their jobs; they travel on business and don't want the maintenance hassles of a single-family home; they bought in the past and sold at a loss; or they have seen others sell at a loss and are skeptical that properties will appreciate significantly.
 "Home Ownership: The American Myth," a newly revised study of home buying in 25 cities nationwide, supports the trend. Author Mitchell A. Levy looks at the decision to buy from a purely economic perspective, and concludes that without "reasonable" real estate appreciation, in most markets people will save money by renting and saving the differential, versus owning.
 Developers are eager to please these permanent renters. At a new apartment complex in Las Colinas, Texas, for example, residents have free, 24-hour access to a fitness center and business center with computer, fax and copier. The apartments, which rent for $570 to $1,250, feature switch-controlled gas fireplaces with stone mantles, designer white-on-white kitchen appliances, under-the-counter water filters, and a private phone system with free voice mail. The complex is fully occupied with residents ages 35 to 55, earning $40,000 to $80,000 a year.
 At another fully-occupied rental property in Gaithersburg, Md., the developer spent $75,000 to preserve old-growth trees, and successfully petitioned the governor to change the law and allow the project to recycle its trash -- steps to please an older, more environmentally- conscious renter. The management also cares for residents' plants and pets free of charge when they are away. Residents are age 30 to 45, earning $55,000 to $65,000, and pay monthly rents of $745 to $1,335.
 -0- 9/15/93
 /CONTACT: Laura Rowley of Multi-Housing News, 212-626-2306/


CO: Miller Freeman, Inc.; Multi-Housing News ST: New York IN: PUB CST SU:

LD -- NYFNS2 -- 2039 09/15/93 07:32 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 15, 1993
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