Building for Boomers

by Gene Mostad

A Missoula construction company has launched a new development aimed at the city’s changing demographics: homes suited to baby boomers looking to downsize and simplify as they head into retirement.

Where buyers once sought two-level homes with sweeping yards and room to grow, retirees are now looking to scale back, and Mostad Construction is meeting the need.

“The baby boomer generation is the largest age group in the United States,” said Gene Mostad, owner of the company.

“As this baby boomer generation approaches retirement and looks for a more simplified lifestyle, housing design, layout and accessibility needs change.”

Mostad’s work stems back to the 1980s with the Brookside development in Missoula’s Rattlesnake neighborhood. Back then all but one home was built with a basement. Future projects also would include a second level.

Now, Mostad has shifted its focus to single-level living. At Valley View Terrace, the designs incorporate natural light with wider hallways and doors to create barrier-free living.


Architectural rendering from Mostad Construction.

“Buyers are looking for easy access into and out of homes, as well as ease of navigation within the homes,” said Mostad. “These universal design elements allow people to age in their homes, knowing that as their needs evolve, they’re able to stay where they are and not have to worry about re-locating.”

Despite the architectural shift to single-level living, Mostad continues to focus on quality and superior construction with well-appointed finishes. The most desired home-size ranges from 1,600- to 1,800-square-feet.

Mostad added that today’s buyers don’t mind being closer to neighbors. It gives them time to focus on community and share time with others.

“Baby boomers value amenities offered by a homeowner’s association that allows them the freedom to enjoy life,” said Mostad. “It gives them time to do what they love rather than worrying about maintenance and upkeep that can be costly and time consuming.”

Over the past 40 years, Mostad has constructed five townhome developments that largely cater to the 55-and-older crowd. In doing so, the company has refined its layout and design to suit each generation’s changing priorities.

After launching the Brookside development in the 1980s, Mostad continued to build in Missoula and completed Elk Hills in the mid-1990s. That was followed by a townhome project in the Ranch Club. Dubbed “The Dunes,” that project broke ground in the early 2000s and catered to a younger demographic in addition to the 55-and-older group.

Mostad began to incorporate accessibility features and enhancements into its projects in 2008, when it embarked on its Orchard development. It’s a theme that continues at Valley View Terrace and has been incorporated into all design elements throughout the two available floor plans.

Those with more direct accessibility needs can upgrade to features such as curb-less showers, comfort height toilets and low profile doorway thresholds.

“Barrier-free living is starting to be a widely recognized building trend as more and more boomers look to retire. In addition to our work on custom home builds, serving the 55-and-older demographic is a key segment of our building business. We will continue to provide quality homes with thoughtful design and functionality for years to come,” Mostad said.

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