Should Retiring Snowbirds Rent or Buy: Irma Provides Ample Lessons

Category: Retirement Real Estate

Note: This is Part 1 of a 2 Part series. Part 2 is “The Worst Places to Retire: Weather and Natural Disasters“.

September 14, 2017 — The devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Irma in Florida will provide many painful lessons for snowbirds and Sunbelt retirees. Those experiences impact where to live, what type of housing to choose, and whether to rent or buy. This article will explore those factors. We are grateful to Alan E for suggesting this topic. See bottom for more related articles on renting vs. buying and natural disasters.

Where to live
Almost every area of the country has its own set of natural disasters to worry about; it is hard to find a place that is immune to at least one of these: earthquake, hurricane, tsunami, blizzards, floods, sinkholes, tornadoes, droughts, wildfires, etc. When it comes to choosing a place to retire, it really boils down to picking your poison.

Over the long term Florida and Texas have had more devastating hurricanes than anywhere else, although in recent years New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut had more. Because Florida is a peninsula with coasts on three sides, the (more…)

Posted by Admin on September 13th, 2017

New Homes Drop in Size: First Time Since 2009

Category: Retirement Real Estate

January 13, 2017 — The average size of newly built homes decreased in 2016 – a sign that builders are preparing for the coming wave of first-time buyers as Millennials begin to dip their toes into the market. At least that is the conclusion reached by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

In 2015, the typical new home had 2,689 square feet. In 2016, it dropped to 2,634, according to figures supplied by the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s the first drop in size since 2009, said Rose Quint, NAHB assistant vice president for survey research.

“The data on new home characteristics show a pattern,” she said. “2016 marked the end of an era that began in 2009 when homes got bigger and bigger with more amenities. I expect the size of homes to continue to decline as (more…)

Posted by Admin on January 12th, 2017

The Real Estate Roller Coaster Rides On – Where You Sit Matters

Category: Retirement Real Estate

December 30, 2016 — Real estate in the last 15 years has been like an rollercoaster – cozy ups, terrifying downs, and hairpin turns. But like a great ‘coaster, the ride feels different depending on where you sit – those on the ends get the big thrills while middle riders enjoy a slightly smoother ride. That is the conclusion of The Wall St. Journal‘s recent analysis of the latest real estate prices from October’s S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index and other sources.

After dropping 27% from 2006 to 2012, average home prices rose 5.6% on the last 12 months, a record high (although not when counting inflation). But that is the national average, regional variations tell a significantly different story.

The Wall St. Journal reported that data from Weiss Analytics, a housing-data firm, indicates that zip codes where the median (more…)

Posted by Admin on December 29th, 2016

Rising Seas Swamping Coastal Real Estate Markets

Category: Retirement Real Estate

Dec. 7, 2016 — The ultimate dream for many a baby boomer is to buy a home on the edge of the sea. Brilliant sunrises, grandkids playing in the sand or swimming off the fishing dock, and fiery sunsets are all part of that dream. Unfortunately, the reality of rising seas is threatening that good life. A recent article in the NY Times, “Perils of Climate Change Swamp Coastal Real Estate“, found that real estate prices in flood prone areas of the U.S. are either declining, or not rising as fast as in other parts of the country.

(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

It used to be that potential buyers of coastal property (more…)

Posted by Admin on December 6th, 2016

Considering Retirement in a Pocket Neighborhood?

Category: Retirement Real Estate

September 28, 2016 — This website absolutely gets so many great article ideas from our Members and visitors. A perfect illustration was the suggestion which we had from 2 different members, huntley61 and janeAnn, to explore the idea of retiring in a pocket community. Thanks to all!

What is a Pocket Neighborhood?
The most common characteristic of a pocket neighborhood is a small group of homes and other type residences sharing a common, open space area. That space might be for gardens, pedestrian walkways, shared yards, or something else. The idea is to promote a close knit sense of community and neighborliness with an increased level of contact. Instead of a sterile parking lot as a common area, these usable public spaces belong to everyone who lives in that neighborhood. While the name and the communities are new, the idea is old and traditional – villages and city neighborhoods in Europe and New England (think homes clustered along the green) have had the same thing going for centuries. Pocket neighborhoods exist in a variety of environments – rural, in cities, or even the suburbs. Another aspect of pocket neighborhoods is that they are small scale – maybe 12 homes max (although many pocket neighborhoods might be linked together by walkways). Homes are usually smaller and closer together than in existing towns and suburbs. The movement is in some ways an extension of residential cluster housing, where a group of homes might be built on fairly large piece of property, but the homes are close together to create large common spaces.

Are pocket neighborhoods good for retirement and those 55+?
While we are aware of only a few pocket neighborhoods built expressly for those 55+, many baby boomers are interested enough in the idea to move into one. One attraction is the idea of living next to and relating to people of all ages, not just older people. In these shared settings neighbors get to know one another; children learn to (more…)

Posted by Admin on September 27th, 2016

How Much Has Your Home Value Changed Since 2004

Category: Retirement Real Estate

May 11, 2016 — Is your real estate experience something you are pleased with, or a subject best left untouched? A new interactive tool published in the Washington Post will confirm that for you in just a few seconds. Enter your zip code or town, and voila!, it will show you how much the value of your home has changed since 2004. (more…)

Posted by Admin on May 10th, 2016

Renting vs. Buying – Which Is Better in Retirement?

Category: Retirement Real Estate

April 29, 2016 — One of the biggest considerations most Americans face is determining if, and when, it makes sense to buy a home. In retirement, however, the question becomes a different one: “Should I remain a homeowner?” For all Americans, one recent study by Trulia.com found it is more cost effective to buy than rent. But what about for retirees? Trulia found that it is 41.8% cheaper for retirees to buy than rent in all major US metros. The issue is not quite that simple though, as there are emotional and practical considerations as well as financial ones.

We were very pleased that Trulia reached out to Topretirements for this article, providing us with custom data for our Top 10 Most Popular Places to Retire. This data, presented (more…)

Posted by Admin on April 29th, 2016

Renting Frustrations Lead to the Snowbird Dilemma – Rent or Buy?

Category: Retirement Real Estate

March 14, 2016 — Every year about this time a significant segment of the snowbird population, the portion that rents instead of owns their own place, share a common worry. The concern boils down to this simple question – where on earth are we going to stay next winter? In this article we will attempt to explain the many issues that come into play when boomers go about seeking a snowbird rental, and how those factors often drive them to start thinking about owning a place vs. continuing to rent.

The rental worries
Here are some of the major problems that repeat snowbird renters can face – assuming they were lucky enough to find a rental (more…)

Posted by Admin on March 13th, 2016

Are You Ready to Join the Tiny House Movement in Retirement

Category: Retirement Real Estate

July 13, 2015 — Some people dream of retiring in an expansive home with plenty of room for hobbies, friends and grandchildren. And others can’t wait to downsize, get rid of 40 years of accumulated “stuff”, and live in a manageable-sized home. This article is dedicated to those interested in the latter, especially to the folks who want to take it to a small extreme. The end of this feature had many resources to find out more about the tiny homes movement along with examples of – from TV shows to a Netflix documentary.

The average new single family home has grown and grown. In 1978, according to Wikipedia, it was 1,780 square feet (165 m2), but, despite a decrease in the size of the average family, the average home had bloated to 2,662 square feet by 2013.

Small… and then there is Tiny!
The small house movement generally refers to houses of less than 1,000 square feet. Tiny houses take that further, and are less than 400 sq. ft., with some (more…)

Posted by Admin on July 13th, 2015

It’s Official: The Top 15 Builders in the Top 50 Retirement Markets

Category: Retirement Real Estate

June 9, 2015 — We were very flattered recently to see a story from Builderonline.com, “The Top 15 Builders in 2015’s Retirement Magnets“, which used Topretirements’ “100 Most Popular Retirement Towns” as the starting point of its research. The online publication basically looked at our top 50 towns (chosen on the basis of visitor popularity on our site), and then determined which companies build the most homes in those markets. It was an intriguing idea with at least one very big surprise.

Quantity Built
Let’s start with a big surprise: the #10 builder is…. Habitat for Humanity. So at least we know from the beginning that there all kinds of builders in our 50 most popular retirement markets – not just those catering to the retirement set. The builder with the most (more…)

Posted by Admin on June 8th, 2015