55+ and Baby Boomer Housing and Relocation Trends

active_adult_55The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and MetLife Mature Market Institute (MMI) just released a report on their joint study of housing and relocation trends for the 55+ age group, i.e., baby boomers. The results are quite interesting.

The MMI report analyzes the communities where boomer and older households live and whether the residents are happy with those different 55+ and active adult communities.

Also studied were those in the 55+ who had recently moved, including where they went, where they came from, and why they moved.

According to the Current Population Survey of U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans who are over-55 has grown from 52.2 million in 1990 (21% of the total population) to 70.6 million 2007. The NAHB projects that the 55+ population will increase to 76.6 million in 2010 and to 85.3 million in 2014.

Where Boomers are Living

Regarding existing 55+ populations and communities, these are the key findings of the NAHB/MMI report:

  • The majority of 55+ Americans do not live in age-restricted or other 55+ communities but that number is on the increase. The share of those living in active adult age-restricted communities grew from 2% in 2001 to 3% in 2007.
  • Residents in 55+ communities registered the highest satisfaction rates. However, most 55+ survery respondents stated they were happy with their current homes.
  • Within the community, design and looks were most important to 55+ single-family home buyers, while closeness to family and friends was a higher priority in age-restricted rental and multi-family communities.

Where and Why Boomers are Moving

  • The primary reasons stated for moving to a 55+ community were family or personal reasons, financial or employment reasons, and the desire to have a higher quality home.
  • Family was the number one reason for moving to multi-family communities, along with reducing costs and increasing quality.
  • Home and community location relative to work are important for 55+ and boomer households. 
  • The number of 55+ households working from the home rose from 2001-2007. 
  • The number of movers into other 55+ owner-occupied communities rose from 6% in 2001 to 13% in 2007.
  • Active adult communities are attracting younger buyers (age 60 and under).
  • The share of home buyers in age-qualified communities with some college education or more has increased in the past six years, from 50% in 2001 to 73% in 2007.
  • The share of all 55+ buyers of newly built homes using a mortgage has increased significantly in the past six years, except for other 55+ communities which declined from 54% in 2001 to 40% in 2007.

Final Thoughts on Boomer Housing Trends

I can understand the desire to live in a community with others who are in the same age group, without children. In some cases, however, this can conflict with a goal of being near your own children and grandchildren.

To me, the ideal may be an active adult community that is within a short drive of other family. This combines the best of both worlds.

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