Arizona and Florida. In fact, only two of the cities listed in the article were from those states, which had been traditional hotbeds for retirees and pre-retirees.
“Once again, baby boomers are breaking the rules,” said AARP The Magazine Editor-in-Chief Director Hugh Delehanty. “This time, they have bumped traditional ‘retirement communities,’ and are looking for something different.”
The article reiterates what NAHB research about the current seniors housing market has indicated — boomers prefer to retire in their own hometowns, near friends, their social networks, and, most importantly, their grandchildren and children.
This generation also is wealthier than any other, and its members put a premium on the lifestyle they want to lead. For builders this means that, with the right approach, markets can flourish even in places not considered ripe for age-targeted or age-qualified developments.
The towns cited in the AARP article as the most livable for seniors were judged on criteria such as:
- Community life
- Access to outdoor recreation
- Quality of public schools
Loveland/Fort Collins, CO, a suburb of Denver, was ranked No.1. Located near Rocky Mountain National Park, the neighboring cities were noted for their proximity to leisure activities such as skiing, hiking and fishing. Fort Collins also is home to Colorado State University, while Loveland hosts one of the region’s most vibrant art scenes.
Bellingham, WA, located on the Pacific coast between Seattle and Vancouver, was ranked No. 2. The city was recognized for its charming, affordable neighborhoods and recreational opportunities such as kayaking, sailing and snowboarding.
Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, NC, was No. 3, followed by Sarasota, FL and Fayetteville, AR.
Rounding out the top 15 are, in order, Charleston, SC; Asheville, NC; San Diego; San Antonio; Santa Fe; Gainesville; Iowa City; Portsmouth, NH; Spokane; and Ashland, OR.
The article also noted several trends regarding where aging boomers move:
- Fewer than one in 20 boomers move across county lines each year. An even fewer number relocate to a different state.
- For those who move, familiarity is a key issue, whether it involves a move closer to family or college towns with a youthful vibe, to great medical facilities or to an area with sophisticated restaurants.
- Location is the boomers’ first priority. This includes the recreational and cultural offerings of the area. After finding the right location, boomers generally look for a job or decide to run their own business.
For descriptions of the top 15 dream cities, review the AARP press release.
For more information on NAHB’s market research on boomers or to become an NAHB Seniors Housing Council member, contact Jeff Jenkins at 800-368-5242 x8292.
BuilderBooks.com offers a variety of seniors housing publications online. To view or purchase these publications, click here.
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