March 24 — The stereotype would have you think that the hordes of baby boomers moving into active adult communities can’t wait to move into a smaller house. According to a new study from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), however, the reality is somewhat different.
The study, “Profile of the 50+ Housing Market”, points out that more than 85 million people will be 55+ by 2014. Many will be buying in homes specifically built for 55+ buyers, and these won’t be all that small – the average home will still have more than 2 bedrooms and over 2,000 square feet for living. Yards and other maintenance-requiring items will be downsized, however.
The study found at least one difference between homes built in age restricted communities vs. those for 55+ buyers in general. Homes in restricted communities are less likely to have specialty rooms like dens, offices, or libraries.
Multiple reports in the press agree that buyers in the 55+ market are stronger prospects and thus less affected by the current real estate slump than other home buyers. Boomers tend to have more equity in their homes as well as other substantial assets. Even if they have to sell their existing home for less than it was worth 2 years ago, they can still be comfortable buying a new home. Few need to take out a mortgage or qualify for financing. Most plan on buying a better quality home than they have now.
A recent article in the Arizona Star backs up the conclusion that the market for active adult communities is in much better shape than the overall housing market. Insiders quoted there agree that retiring baby boomers are ready to move and they have the resources to make that happen. There is pent up demand for these homes, with the activities and amenities found in these new communities often more important than the homes themselves. More than half of those planning to buy in 55+ communities plan to purchase a home in the same county as where they currently live.