Social Activities Not at the Top of 55+ Home Buyer Wish List
The housing preferences of those in the 55-to-64 age cohort and older households in the 65+ age bracket bear strong similarities, with a few exceptions, according to new research on the 55+ housing market released at last month’s International Builders' Show in Las Vegas.
Based on a survey of consumers and builders conducted in 2009 by NAHB and the MetLife Mature Market Institute, the analysis found that the younger of the two age groups showed more interest in technology-driven features, while the older group expressed a strong preference for a variety of universal design features and a single-story floor plan or one with a first-floor master bedroom.
Another striking difference, according to John Migliaccio, director of research at MetLife's Mature Market Institute, is related to the desire for home services and community services.
"Very telling, said Migliaccio, "is that the younger group of mature consumers reported enthusiastically that they want services like home maintenance and repair as part of their next home purchase, along with services typically connected to older home owners, such as housekeeping, onsite health care and transportation."
According to Migliaccio, all of the aforementioned were ranked higher than the desire for organized social activities — a surprise, inasmuch as it has been thought that this group highly values social activities and amenities. This finding, he said, supports an emerging trend among builders to look for ways to partner with providers of such services to the residents of their active adult/lifestyle communities.
According to Mike McGowan, a 50+ builder from Binghamton, N.Y. and chair of NAHB's 50+ Housing Council, "Most buyers in this market are looking for an easy-living lifestyle. They would like access to services that will free up their time from maintenance both inside and outside their homes. This data tells builders that the homes we build for older active adults will remain attractive to the consumers who will be entering that market for the foreseeable future."
Paul Emrath, NAHB's vice president for survey and housing policy research, pointed out that the share of households that will want lower-maintenance housing is large, and growing larger as baby boomers age into that segment of the market. He cautioned that the current financial situation has led to sharply decreased construction of communities that serve the mature market. Without a change in the availability of capital for development and construction, there could well be a shortage of such housing when it is most needed.
This was the third in a series of studies on the 50+ market based on the MetLife/NAHB surveys. For more information on the research, including the preceding two reports, click here.
For further information, e-mail Ann Marie Moriarty at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8350.
Find Out What the 45+ Housing Market Wants
“Right House, Right Place, Right Time: Community and Lifestyle Preferences of the 45+ Housing Market,” available through BuilderBooks.com, will help determine the right design, home features and amenities to attract boomer home buyers in your market.
Author Margaret A. Wylde guides readers through the latest survey results on this important consumer group and explains what their responses mean for today’s and tomorrow’s home building industry.
To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.