Baby Boomers Ready to Rejuvenate 50+ Housing Market
The 50+ housing market will receive a rejuvenating lift from baby boomers, who won’t be shy about letting builders know what they want and won’t be grudging when it comes time to pay for it, according to participants in an NAHB teleconference for the news media earlier this month.
“Boomers have a strong preference for homeownership,” NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders said, and the rising numbers of members of this group heading into the traditional retirement years will be boost demand for new housing.
Although many boomers and older Americans say they would prefer sitting tight and aging in place in their current homes, the demand for housing created specifically for graying Americans is strong. According to numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey, 6% of all housing starts in 2003 were age-restricted or age-targeted. “As the boomers age, that number will grow,” said Seiders.
Georgia-based builder Norman Cohen reported that he is finding that buyers in his company’s active adult communities are demanding more and more options. “Our customers are not looking for cookie-cutter homes,” he said. “They want upgrades and options. We have about 300-400 pre-priced options, and we find that buyers come up with options we haven’t even considered. And they are willing to pay for them. They’ve sold their previous home and they have the money to get what they want.”
Cohen, chairman of NAHB’s 50+ Housing Council, added that “most 50+ buyers are not looking for a new place to live, but for a change in lifestyle.” Aging home owners don’t want to have to worry about maintaining their homes. Cohen’s company, Camelot/Signature Development, builds what he calls “lock it and leave it” communities, where all the painting, gutter cleaning, landscaping and other maintenance are taken care of.
Although there is a segment of the market looking for “destination communities,” most of the 50+ home buyers Cohen has been seeing want to stay within five miles of where they used to live, or near their grandchildren or other family.
In another trend reported during the teleconference, age-restricted communities are rapidly losing the stigma that used to be associated with them.
“When my company began building active adult six years ago, ‘age-restricted’ had a negative connotation, but now that’s changed,” said Cohen. “It’s a positive because a lot of 50+ buyers want to be in a community with people like themselves. So many people are interested in it that it doesn’t concern me about advertising age-restricted as a feature because people are seeking it out.”
Seiders predicted that the demand for age-restricted housing, which is allowed under a 1995 exemption to the Fair Housing Act, will keep growing.
For more information, e-mail Elizabeth Landry at NAHB, or call 800-368-5242 x8680.
Time is Running Out to Register for the 50+ Housing Symposium
Do you want to learn more about the fastest-growing segment of the housing market? You still have time to register for Building for Boomers & Beyond: 50+ Housing Symposium 2006, April 24-26 in Phoenix.
The seniors housing symposium is the premier educational and networking event for industry professionals who serve the burgeoning 50+ market.
For more information and to register, click here.
Find Out What Boomers Want
“Boomers on the Horizon: Housing Preferences of the 55+ Market,” available through BuilderBooks.com, can help you better build and market homes to this age group.
Capitalize on the niches, needs and opportunities of this rapidly growing market by learning their preferences. To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.
To learn more about the 2006 50+ Housing Symposium, which will be held April 24-26 in Phoenix, click here.