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Amenities, Social Opportunities, and Downsizing Drive Retiree Relocation

Category: Retirement Real Estate

Oct. 23, 2019 — Many of the 10,000 adults who retire each day are interested in relocating from where they live now. The 55places 2019 National Housing Survey asked nearly 3,000 recent and prospective homebuyers to reveal what’s important when looking for a home, community, and real estate agent, as well as other relevant aspects of the homebuying process. The respondents, 97% of whom were over the age of 55, provided some interesting insights into what drives their relocation preferences.

Top reasons 55+ homebuyers are moving.
Top reasons 55+ homebuyers are moving.

Amenities and Social Key Drivers For Moving
While reasons for moving vary, the top three motivators among respondents include better amenities and social opportunities (32%), downsizing (27%), and retirement (26%). And while states with moderate climates are growing in popularity, the top desired states remain static. Florida (19%), New Jersey (10%), California (9%), Arizona (7%), and Pennsylvania (5%) were marked as a likely place to reside in the next 12 months, which is no different from findings in 2018. However, non-traditional states like North and South Carolina, Texas, Colorado, Utah, are expected to see growth over the next decade.

Affordable Single-Story Living is Preferred
When it comes to home features, the survey found single-story living was significant for nearly half of respondents (note: this is very consistent with surveys done by Topretirements). 48% marked it as a top feature of their new home, followed by having a garage (45%) and a modern kitchen (35%). Cost is important when considering a new home. 25% of survey participants expect the value of their next home to cost about the same as their current one, while 46% expect their next home to cost slightly less or much less.

Real estate agents wanted. The study found that many retirees would like to have a real estate professional help them in their relocation search. These are the characteristics they would like these experts to display.

Top qualities buyers are looking for in a real estate agent.
Top qualities buyers are looking for in a real estate agent.

Comments? Do these findings jive with your relocation preferences? If not, what are the drivers if you are looking to relocate in retirement? What are the amenities you are looking for, and what kind of social interactions would you like to have? Please let us know in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on October 22nd, 2019


  1. It would be helpful to know where the people who responded to the 55 Places survey currently live. For example, the survey said 10% of the respondents want to move to New Jersey. Does that mean people who dont currently live in that state want to move there or were a large percent of the total respondents from that state and some of them plan to stay there ?
    Also, while a bunch of amenities within a community might be helpful for resale value, it would be interesting to see how many people who currently live in a place with a lot of amenities actually use them and if they would put them ( and the high HOA fees that go along with them) high on the list if buying again.

    by jean — October 23, 2019

  2. Jean, We currently live in a 55+ community and want to leave. We used some amenities when we first moved here 1-1/2 yrs. ago, but have not done so lately. I prefer a quiet walk in the morning to going to a gym and also work out with weights at home. Lawn care is a disaster here, we have little to no control and would prefer to do it ourselves or hire someone on our own (which we can’t do while living here). We are too independent for this type of a living situation, but there are those who seem to love it. To each her/his own…
    To you point, I hope that the amenities will be helpful for resale value!

    by Fionna — October 23, 2019

  3. It’s fascinating to me that amenities and social opportunities are the major drivers for most of those respondents. And also that both Jean an Fionna somewhat question that. I think that those who “manage” their own lives, who find ways to deal with work things out on their own terms are less likely to look for “outside” motivators.

    by RichPB — October 23, 2019

  4. Amenities were high on our list for moving, and 3-1/2 years later we are loving them. Never thought I’d like golf but I love it and have met new friends through it. We also love and use the fitness center, fitness classes and social activities, so it was a good choice for us!

    by Jini — October 23, 2019

  5. RichPB, I do agree with you about “managing” our own lives. We have always lived like that and now find it difficult to put our name on a list and wait, or worse, to be completely ignored. That’s what can happen when one buys into a situation where you pay a monthly fee for substandard services and activities that really are of minimal interest to you. And of course there are those who constantly ask “Why weren’t you at such and such activity?” Oh please, stop trying to manage my life!

    by Fionna — October 24, 2019

  6. Those who do not use the amenities should probably not live in a 55+ community because they often complain about upgrading same amenities after they are there. It takes $$$ to keep a golf course it top shape and restaurants on site rarely are profitable, add pickle ball, tennis, pools, fitness center and a clubhouse! I use plenty to justify my $204/mo HOA fee and wouldn’t have it any other way. Relocating to AZ was a great decision and the community style allowed me to meet so many new people and try new things like golf and fitness classes. We did downsize to a single story home.

    by ljtucson — October 24, 2019

  7. After several years of indecision, I finally moved into a 55plus small community. After looking at several different communities, I realized that the offering of 1,000+ clubs and activities means nothing to me if they do not interest me, not does living in a development of thousands of folks with stringent HOA rules. You really have to consider what is important to you personally in the way of amenities and rules that you can live with.

    by nancy — October 24, 2019

  8. I was one of the respondents in the survey. We love our one floor home, spacious kitchen and bathrooms. The patio is wonderful to sit outside and enjoy the warm evenings. We have two golf courses, but both are public and not part of our HOA fees. My wife swims daily and me about once a week. I walk daily and we have wonderful walking pathes and some lighted. We have met so many friends since our move and continue meeting more everyday as we continue to expand. Our location and community has exceeded our expertations.

    by Bruce — October 24, 2019

  9. Particularly for some of our newer members, we have done some surveys in this area among Topretirements folks in the past. When it comes to amenities, the The top ones are walking trails, fitness centers, and clubhouse/community center. Golf, pickleball, tennis, and shuffleboard are at the bottom of the list.

    See for a whole lot more including size and type of community that people want to retire to. As in the 55places survey, single floor living is a top priority (and yet where we live in CT all of the nice town home communities have upstairs masters !

    by Admin — October 24, 2019

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