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Baby boomers rebuild the nest

The nation's more than 80 million baby boomers are entering their empty-nest years, and they're treating themselves to luxuries now that the kids are gone.

The American Furniture Manufacturers Association surveyed empty nesters and found that 1 out of 4 will renovate a home. While most empty nesters continue living in the same houses, 25 percent will buy new homes.

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According to Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, in each of the past 15 years, about 1 million homeowners spent more than $10,000 each on a major kitchen or bathroom remodeling, an addition, or other major interior alteration.

Jerry Epperson, a furniture industry analyst, says boomers are looking for new homes for several different reasons."You have a generation paying off their first mortgage, seeing their kids leave home, and coming into the first wave of inheritance. This gives them the wherewithal to seriously look at a second or vacation home." But Mr. Epperson also sees a more subtle motivation by empty nesters. "If you have a great place at the beach, at a lake, or in the mountains, you will see the grandkids more often, and we think that is a major driving force for the baby boomers."


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