The real estate market crash may have a silver lining, as it turns out, in attracting younger baby boomers to move into retirement communities.
In Florida, low condo prices as a result of the housing market downturn has prompted many buyers to purchase homes located in retirement communities, even if they haven’t reached retirement age, according to a New York Times article.
One woman paid just $26,900 in cash for her two-bedroom condo, a residence that was originally sold for $40,800 in 1980 and then resold in 1990 for $65,000, the article says.
Buying a condo with cash is not unusual, according to Ben G. Schachter, president of a real estate company that handles six of the largest 55-and-older communities in Florida.
“These are being bought by people who expect to live in them,” Schachter told the N.Y. Times. “They’re mostly buying for cash. It relieves them of having a mortgage payment as they get by on Social Security and fixed incomes.”
Last year, the average price of a condo in Century Village of Boca Raton—where the woman mentioned above snagged her condo deal—was $35,436. At the height of the real estate boom in 2006, the average condo there sold for $114,000, according to multiple listings data the article mentions.
Barry Fogel, who sells real estate in Kings Point, FL., told the N.Y. Times that business has picked up, and many buyers are older boomers in their late 50s to mid-60s.
The neighborhoods of these older communities have also changed to meet the shifting demographic of their inhabitants, the article notes, including bus service to shopping centers and doctors’ offices, as well as around the clock security.
As demand picks up for these neighborhoods, there are signs that prices will also start to climb, says the N.Y. Times. In the last year, the asking price rose to $50,000, an increase of about $10,000 from the prior year.
A transforming environment might even be all it takes to attract older boomers, suggests the article, describing the interest of a Canadian boomer who has observed changes in the neighborhood different from the time his father lived in the area.
“Eight or 10 years ago, I said I could never live there,” Ronny Solomon, a 61-year-old insurance agent from Toronto told the Times. “But you see it changing in the people on the sidewalks, on bikes, in the swimming pool—it’s in transition.”
Written by Jason Oliva