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2011 Retirement Trends You Should Be Thinking About

Category: Baby Boomer Retirement Issues

Every year we dust off our crystal ball and try to think about what’s ahead for retirees in the year ahead. But before we do that, here are a few observations about 2010, the year that is just about to end:

– Housing prices stabilized in most markets in 2010, and even started to increase slightly in many cities and towns. The free fall in prices that came in 2008 and 2009 has mostly stopped. Although median home prices slipped in the first quarter according to the National Association of Realtors, they increased from a median of $170,300 in the first quarter to $177,900 by the third quarter. All 4 major regions of the country saw price increases.
– 2010 showed more life in the active adult community market than we saw in 2009. Based on our small world, we had much more interest from developers in advertising on our website than there was in 2009. The number of clients with Top and Showcase Listings more than doubled in 2010, which we interpret as meaning that there a lot more developments that are selling enough to justify a marketing budget.

Our Predictions for 2011
Here are some predictions for 2011, the year in which the oldest baby boomers (born in 1946) turn 65. Note that we are not economists, just readers of tea leaves:
– The financial recovery will keep coming, but slower than most folks would hope for. The solid holiday sales reports from this season is encouraging
– Home prices will rise slowly as the pace of foreclosures relents and inventory adjusts. Lots of ifs associated with this prediction – particularly what will happen if foreclosure rate were to intensify
– Financial woes will afflict millions of older baby boomers – delaying their retirements, and readjusting their plans and expectations
– The financial troubles of the States will continue, causing further exodus from the northeast and rustbelt
– Home Owner Associations will continue to struggle with delinquencies, making buying into and selling from many communities a dicey proposition
– Some active communities will fail before they are fully built and/or sold out
– It might be a good time to buy into an active community or retirement town in 2011 – IF you are selective, do your due diligence, and are patient. The deals will be there for the careful buyer. On the other hand, there are many communities in which it would not be wise to buy.

Comments Anyone?
What do you think is going to happen in 2011? Please share your predictions and observations in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on December 26th, 2010


  1. Regarding the above, I would like some input on the stability of The Villages in Florida and Sunflower in Ft. Collins, CO for 2011. These are my 2 choices thus far dependending on how soon I can short sale my CA townhome which is currently over $100,000 upside down.

    by Leslie — December 27, 2010

  2. Would like to think you are right about home prices stabilizing and b=getting better – but – there is a considerable consensus that there will be much more trouble in the way of foreclosures and prices dropping in the years 2011 thru 2013. This would be the result of existing ARM’s resetting to much higher interest rates as well as forcing those who opted for interest only loans and such to start paying principal as well. Here in Florida a recent report cited a scenario where a person having trouble paying such a $600 monthly mortgage payment could see that payment increase to $2,000. This would make the past few years seem like a cakewalk. Hope they are wrong, for all our sakes.

    by Bob Gorog — December 27, 2010

  3. Perhaps it would be useful if TopRetirements could publish a series of articles on how to perform your own due diligence on retirement communities.

    by John Bercini — December 29, 2010

  4. On the advice of a friend we decided not to buy a gorgeous new condo in a beautiful building on the water in Sanford Florida because it was only 10% sold after two years and was in a section of town with a reputation for drug transactions at night. Buying in a condo or development that is undersold leaves you open to the possibility of the developer can go into bankruptcy and you will never get the services you were promised, like pool, roads, adult center etc. And do check with the police department regarding questionable sections of a town. Of course, having a friend in the area is always valuable! My lesson learned: Beautiful isn’t necessarily attractive.

    by Betty Fitterman — December 29, 2010

  5. Hey, I think you should expand your tea leaves to many other states beyond the Northeast and Rust Belt as far as financial woes…they will be hard to escape almost anywhere. And if folks are exiting based on that then California should soon be a wasteland.

    Also the saying ‘all real estate is local’ is probably a good thing to remember. I think both the statement about things looking a bit better and the possibility of another wave of foreclosures may be true but specific to certain areas of the country.

    Some thoughts on the interest in due diligence on ‘community’ real estate. Buying any real estate that is part of an association, active adult or not, is like forming a partnership with many people you don’t know. There are many questions to ask, some already noted. Some other things I think are important are how many ‘units’ are there, how many are owned and in good standing, what is the rental policy, what are the demographics (particularly age) of the people who live there, what is the association fee and what does it cover, how often and how much can the fee be raised, what do the financials of the association look like. Neighborhood, amenities, etc are of course personal and important. Talk to people who are living or staying there. Always get a copy of the bylaws and latest financials, which will contain some of the items mentioned above. If you don’t know how to interpret them then find someone who does. Find out what kind of insurance the association carries and what it covers. Find out what services and maintenance of the property is association responsibility and what is the individual owners responsibility.

    There are many things that are different about ownership in a shared community versus owning your own home where everything is your responsibility. There are pluses and minuses and you should weigh these. Remember when you are part of a group many decisions and actions are not directly controlled by you.

    Perhaps, as suggested, TopRetirements may expand and add more detail in an article but thought I’d suggest some food for thought.

    Not sure I have predictions but certainly hope 2011 is a good year and a better one for many!

    by Mejask — December 29, 2010

  6. I would appreciate a TopRetirements list of questions to ask and/or a check list to use when doing “due diligence” on communities – mainly focused on the financial health/future of the community. What lies behind the facade of the pool and tennis courts? Love this website!

    by Susan VanHook — December 29, 2010

  7. I would also like to request that Top Retirements publish questions and/or a check list to use when doing our due diligence on retirement communities. We considered purchasing in Century Village in Boca about five years ago and things just didn’t work out for us. Today, you can pick up a condo for less than you would pay for a car in virtually every one of the Century Village developments. Not sure what is going on there other than the entire state of Florida is overbuilt. In terms of states beyond the Northeast and the Rustbelt, some clues are in the recent re-apportionment of legislators. Oregon and Washington picked up seats and for the first time since the 1940’s, California did not pick up any. California isn’t alone in its’ financial woes. I wonder how much longer states like Oregon will maintain a no sales tax policy or when some of the states like Washington that currently do not have a state income tax will rethink those kinds of things.

    by Lauren — December 29, 2010

  8. Excellent suggestions, everyone. Mejasks ideas on due diligence very useful. For more i suggest you take a look on our blog for the category of active communities. There is some good stuff there on the topic.
    But we will work on a due diligence list too.

    by Admin — December 29, 2010

  9. Like many decisions in life – moving to your final retirement area probably ranks in the top 3 or 4. Having lived in the Pa, NY, and OH area for many years – and after extensive vacations and travels in all states – with some focus on the west and Pacific NW during the last 5 years – I can tell you without a doubt – for us, the choice ended up being the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge – SC. Close enough to the ocean – with 4 seasons – but milder winters – and home/land prices still a reasonable level. Not a retirement community, but full of retirement aged neighbors with an active HOA.

    by Frank — December 29, 2010

  10. is a wonderful resource and I view it often to gain insight and understanding to the big picture. That said, I would like to reflect some thoughts…After recently retiring from 28 years of military service in the USARMY, I have lived in many locations around the USA and the world. Because I have been to so many different locations, I may have a different perspective. After retiring, I too have considered living in some of those places that I have been to. But recently, I have given strong consideration to just staying where I currently reside – in the Tacoma/Seattle area. I have not seen anyone here that opts to consider just staying where you currently live. If the area which you currently live was suitable for you while you were working, why would it not be suitable after you stop working?? Every place has its pluses and minuses. Tacoma has funky wet weather for 5-6 months of the year, but its late Spring/Summer/early Fall months are exceptionally sunny and mild. And the activities here are endless for retirees. People tend to believe the grass is always greener on the other side. You can find everything you need in your own backyard if you look close enough. Happy new Year to ALL!!

    by Ray — December 29, 2010

  11. We’re happily settled in a retirement community but, as always, TopRetirements never fail to inform baby boomers of issues that matter.

    by Betty — December 29, 2010

  12. At the age of 56, single, empty nester, I would appreciate insight into where the last of the boomers can go who are full of energy, finally have some time, and want sports, culture, education, community gathering places, major medical facility nearby, places our children/grandchildren will love (e.g. is it near skiing? forests? water sports?
    Would love to know favorite places of military retirees, triathletes, skiers, campers, religious preferences, etc. i.e. Demographic “profiling” of community. Everybody knows his/her favorite weather, and knows if he/she is a mountain, lake, desert, city, or beach person. But personality “flocking’? Help us out here. thanks for a great newsletter.

    by Karen Strauss — January 2, 2011

  13. There are strong structural forces that may create a situation where housing prices will continue to decline slowly over the next 20 years. Continuing foreclosures, higher taxes, lower incomes for the middle class and for the young, vast numbers of retiring ( and dying) baby boomers selling their homes, and a loss of faith in the potential of the rising value of homes as a speculative investment are some of the forces that tend towards declining values over the long term.

    Homes could very well become just another depreciating property like a car. As for land value, there seems to be no limit to the amount of land available in the USA.

    I would not rely at all on an assumption that bubble prices will return.

    by Warren — January 5, 2011

  14. Most of what I see here is financial/location info. How about exploring how your life will change and how to adapt to those changes. Eg; Social contact before through co-workers, and after? A whole new area to explore!

    by LuluM — January 19, 2011

  15. […] further reference: Top 2011 Active Adult Community Trends 2011 Retirement Trends You Should Be Thinking About Posted by John Brady on November 12th, 2011 Comments (0)  Email This Post Entries (RSS) and […]

    by » What the Experts Think Lies Ahead for Your Retirement: Report from the American Association of Retirement Communities (AARC): Topretirements — November 15, 2011

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