Friday, January 21, 2011

Trends in Housing for the 55+ Generation

A joint study by the 50+ Housing Council of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the MetLife Mature Market Institute shows the recession has made 55+ buyers more practical when selecting a new home. Design considerations have become less important, and financial concerns have become more prominent.  “By the year 2020, as Baby Boomers move into this age bracket, almost 45% of all U.S. households will include someone at least 55 years old,” said David Crowe, NAHB’s chief economist. “The number of those households seeking housing better suited to their changing needs will therefore rise dramatically.”

The study, “Housing Trends Update for the 55+ Market,” explores recently released housing data from the Census Bureau’s 2009 American Housing Survey (AHS) on the 55+ demographic. The report focuses especially on households living in active adult communities.

Previous studies from these two organizations found that most 55+ buyers depended on home sale proceeds to finance a new purchase. The most recent data shows that option diminished during the economic downturn.  In 2009, only 55% of new age-qualified active adult home buyers reported that their down payment came from a previous home sale, significantly down from 100% of respondents in 2005 and 92% in 2007. In 2005 and 2007, no active adult community buyers reported having to tap cash or savings for a down payment. In 2009, 45% of the average buyer’s down payment came from cash or savings.

The desire to be near family and friends is the mature mover’s overwhelming motivation, the report noted. The design, amenities and appearance of the residence and the community remain important, but less so than before the recession. Buyers who fall into the 55+ age range that are moving into rental homes, both multi-family and single-family, cited a desire for less expensive housing as second in importance to living near friends and family.  Proximity to work also increased in importance, as more Boomers work well into traditional retirement years.

Hawaii Kai has both retirement communities and many homes where you can age in place.  Call or email me to discuss your plans and options.

Barbara Abe, Realtor