Note: This 2009 article has been updated with a new edition from 2012. See “Why Not Live in an Award Winning Community“.
Philadelphia – For builders, winning an award at the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) Best of 50+ Housing conference is really good PR. For baby boomers, looking at the winners provides insight into what the housing industry thinks are the trendsetting ideas in home building. If you are looking to purchase in an active adult community, you should check out this list of communities winning awards to make sure you make the best decision. The awards were given out at the April 2009 Building for Boomers and Beyond Symposium to honor excellence and innovation in the design, development and marketing of housing for older consumers.
There were 80 gold and silver winners in a wide range of categories. Many of the award winners were true to the trends noted elsewhere at this conference:
– Slightly smaller homes and community spaces. No one wants to be conspicuously consuming right now.
– More flexible spaces. You might want 2 dining areas, someone else might want 3. You might need 2 home offices, another baby boomer needs extra guestrooms instead. The savvy builders of tomorrow’s active adult communities are providing flexible designs that let everybody get the spaces they need.
– Greener designs. Rarely will you ever see LEEDs certification in an active adult community, but you will find developers paying more attention to siting, materials, windows and insulation, HVAC, and other low-cost, high return ideas that produce a more environmentally friendly development.
– Smarter amenities. Builders are trying very hard to find the right kind of amenities that will attract buyers. The mix is changing in subtle but significant ways.
Here is a sampling of some of the winners in this year’s competition (Note: Many of the awards went to retirement communities or CCRCs. For this article Topretirements is only reporting on those within our editorial focus – active adult 55+ communities).
Best Active Adult Community (up to 500 homes)
Parkview Court – Torrance, California. This new development has homes ranging in size from 700 to 1400 sq.ft. Luxury touches include stone in baths and kitchens, balconies, large exterior courtyard. Fitness center/recreation room. Available from $275,000.
Brookhaven of East Cobb – Kennesaw, Ga. This silver winner features 2 and 3 bedroom, flexible floorplans. Front porches, oversized masters, and vaulted ceilings.
Best Active Adult Community (over 500 homes)
Sun City Festival– Buckeye, Arizona by Pulte Homes Corporation.
Del Webb at Lake Oconee -Greensboro, Georgia by Pulte Homes Corporation. This community of 2 and 3 bedroom homes is south of Athens in the great recreation area near Lake Oconee and the Oconee National Forest.
Best Clubhouse in an Active Adult Community
Heritage at Todd Creek – Thornton (Denver), Colorado. This clubhouse overlooks the Rockies and a sensational 18 hole golf course. Each wing of the clubhouse, branching from the main lobby, has a different activity.
Best Detached Home at an Active Adult Community (up to 2,000 square feet)
Eskaton National Demonstration Home – Roseville, California. The Eskaton Home is a ground breaking project that everyone interested in the future of housing for our older population should be studying. It is Green-Built certified and has smart technologies, , universal design, and social connectivity in mind.
Best Attached Home at an Active Adult Community (over 2,000 square feet)
Chester River Landing– Chestertown, Maryland. This is a very cool place. It has 49 homes (single family, townhomes, condos) on the Chester River. Almost all homes come with a private boat slip.
What do you think? Give us your ideas for the best active adult communities using the Comments feature below:
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