from : JUROCK'S Facts By Email - Jan. 27 - Feb. 2, 2011
Bucking The Trend: Retirees Head Back To Cities
For years now, the hope for many small towns, especially in B.C., is that a rush of well-heeled retirees would move in from the suburbs and the big city. As the mayor of Parksville told us 30 years ago - well before it became a successful retirement Mecca - "1,000 new seniors have the economic clout of a new pulp mill, but without the pollution."
But now studies and anecdotal evidence is showing that all the demographic forecasting could be wrong: like younger people, many retirees are opting to move to or stay in the city. We first noticed it as a trend in Quebec. According to CMHC, retirees are the second busiest buyers of Montreal's inner-city condos, behind first-time buyers. Many of the retirees are relocating from the suburbs, rather than moving further out of the city. A McGill University study on the trend cited the following facts, which could be translated to anywhere in Canada.
- Suburbs are boring for seniors who don't have children; for retirees the streets are empty all day long.
- Single, widowed or divorced baby boomers living alone often move back downtown to end their isolation, socialize and create a new network of friends.
- Services nearby: live entertainment, boutiques, hospitals, restaurants, movie theatres: if you live in a suburb (or small town) they can be reached only by automobile, but these amenities are within walking distance downtown - a big plus for active baby boomers.
- At a Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association dinner this month in Coquitlam, guest speaker Warren Jestin, senior vice president and chief economist at Scotiabank, said lenders are seeing a trend to, "Seniors moving from rural and smaller centres to cities to be closer to healthcare providers."
Forbes magazine has also reported on the trend in the U.S., citing seniors who tried rural or small town life and fled back to the city. Key reasons: health care; desire for cultural opportunities and access to public transit.