Florida Beckons Builders as Baby Boomers Age

If baby boomers flocked to California in the 1970s, when they were in their 20s, will they migrate again--this time to Florida--as they enter their 50s?
December 31, 1999
If baby boomers flocked to California in the 1970s, when they were in their 20s, will they migrate again—this time to Florida- as they enter their 50s? A number of national builders and developers seem to be banking on it, and they’re gearing up Florida operations to meet that growing demand.

For example, La Jolla, Calif.-based Newland Communities, a major developer of large-scale, master-planned communities, recently hired well-known Orlando developer Michael McAfee to head its Central Florida division. McAfee says his first priority will be to acquire sites ranging from 500 to 1500 acres.

Newland, which ranks as one of the largest developers in California, is pursuing land deals in Orlando and Tampa, as well as Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta, and Dallas. Publicly-held, Atlanta-based Giant Beazer Homes is also expanding Central Florida operations to meet demand for "holiday resort investment homes." Beazer announced plans to build up to 1000 such homes in three projects in Osceola and Polk Counties.

The one- and two-story detached homes, ranging from 1700 to 2490 square feet and priced $180,000 to $250,000, are sold to foreign and snow bird tourists who visit Central Florida resorts each year. They are completely furnished and come equipped with swimming pools. No matter what language they speak, they fit the baby boomer profile.

"The owners use them for a month or so each year," says Beazer division president David Byrnes. "or the rest of the year, the houses are in a rental pool for other visitors."

Beazer has been selling 65 units a year of this product. "It’s a strong market," says Byrnes. "These buyers make quick decisions. Bedroom counts are critical because rental income is based on how many people the house can sleep. We’re going to do some six-bedroom houses for this market."


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