Boomers Snagging Retirement Community Condos On the Cheap Post-Downturn

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.”

Read the New York Times article.

Written by Jason Oliva

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  1. D Wiltsee says

    The next great challenge will be for homeowners' associations, condo management, mobile/mfg home community management to broaden their range of services to residents. That range of services might include everything from health services to personal care, nutrition, transportation, and in-home support. Of course, there would be a price to be paid by residents, but it would be more efficient (thus overall less costly) than requiring each resident to figure out what services (public and private) exist in the outside world, and to arrange for those services. I dare say such creative service provision would qualify for partial government subsidies in the future, further reducing costs to residents AND giving sponsoring govt agencies (sucha as Area Agencies on Aging) better service delivery and more bang for the buck.

  2. says

    Interesting read on the current retirement community trends. Thanks for sharing, I know many retired Canadians are in Florida who can relate to the real estate news.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. says

    It's hard to sort out whether these types of properties are going to go anywhere in terms of price. Recent market gains have been virtually all investor driven but continued pressure from trending boomer purchases may keep condo prices more stable. Getting rid of the big yard and house is a definite plus for a lot of people who would rather enjoy retirement than clean house.

  4. says

    I Do believe that real estate degrade is good for buyers, but I also believe that the overall market is dipping and it might not lead to a decrease in the count of overall buyers in the market.

  5. says

    Buying a condo is a good idea as long as you make sure that they cannot raise your HOA fees by an undetermined amount of money year after year. HOA fees can make condos a little risky.

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