Trails, Park Areas Top Community Amenities Attracting 55+ Homebuyers

The outlook for the 55+ housing market is strong and is expected to continue seeing improvement in 2013, especially as the share of U.S. households in this age demographic will increase “significantly” through 2020, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Knowing what the 55+ consumer base wants is especially important when designing and building homes and communities, say W. Don Whyte, chairman of the NAHB 50+ Housing Council, and incoming chairman Bob Karen. 

“We are servicing the largest growing group of buyers that we have ever seen in this age category, and it is a population that is dramatically different from what it was only a few years ago,” said Whyte. “That’s why it is so important to know what consumers are looking for in 55+ homes and communities.”

Walking and jogging trails and park areas are the two community amenities most likely to attract both baby boomers and seniors, said Paul Emrath, NAHB’s vice president of survey and housing policy research regarding results of the association’s “What Home Buyers Really Want” survey that polled recent and prospective buyers.


“The older the buyers, the more likely they are to prefer a community offering an outdoor maintenance service,” Emrath said. “It’s also interesting to see that many of the baby boomers and seniors who buy homes prefer to live in suburbs and rural areas, rather than in central cities.” 

Demand is expected to keep rising. 

“We expect to see an increased demand for 55+ housing as more baby boomers turn 55 and seek homes and communities that offer the lifestyle they desire,” said Emrath. “NAHB is projecting that the number of housing starts in 55+ communities will increase 22% to 74,302 units in 2013, and another 20 percent to 89,071 in 2014.”


Not only are builders and developers seeing an uptick in the number of people “generally interested” in 55+ housing, says NAHB, there are also more people actually making the move to purchase a new home.

“We are seeing more consumers overcome the inertia of waiting on the sidelines to buy a new home as they become more confident in their local market conditions,” said Karen, the incoming chairman.

The reason for this is a better ability to sell existing homes, according to NAHB, as the overall housing market continues to improve. 
Written by Alyssa Gerace

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