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Survey Says
Florida's Split Shift

Retired couple
Marketing to older adults? A recent study from the University of Florida (UF) that observes the movement of snowbirds (residents from northern states who travel south each winter) and sunbirds (southern residents who travel north each summer) found that Florida’s population fluctuates by nearly 20 percent over the course of a year.

At the peak of the 2005 winter season,an estimated 818,000 snowbirds traveled to Florida for at least one month; meanwhile, 313,000 residents did the same, but in reverse, during the summer, says Stan Smith, director of UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

“Long recognized as a permanent retirement destination, Florida appears to be a leading destination for elderly temporary migrants as well,” says Smith, whose study was published in the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences.

Winter Here, Summer There

Spending winters in Florida appears to be a preliminary step to a permanent move for many snowbirds, the study found that nearly one in four 23% who moved permanently to Florida between 2000 and 2003 reported they had lived part of the year in the Sunshine State before moving here year-round.

Thirty percent of snowbirds reported that it was “likely” or “very likely” they’d eventually move to Florida permanently. The findings have important implications for communities, which must plan for traffic congestion, additional police and fire protection, increasing demand for medical services and other needs. Seasonal elderly residents aren’t confined to Florida and other Sunbelt states during the winters. Other states that receive sunbirds in the summer include Colorado, Michigan, New York and North Carolina.

Go to http://news.ufl.edu/2006/12/11/snowbirds-3/ for more information.

Accentuating the Positive

Homeowners remain mostly optimistic about the value of their property despite recent broad declines in real estate prices.

A recent nationwide poll conducted by the Pew Research Center shows that more than eight in 10 homeowners expect the value of their homes to go up either “a little” (55 percent) or “a lot” (26 percent) in the future.

“Some 34 percent of homeowners say their home accounts for ‘all or most’ of their personal financial worth and another 34 percent say it represents about half of their worth,” says the study, noting that the figures are largely unchanged since 1992.

Respondents have toned down the expected rate of gain from a potential sale of their home, compared with past years. But the Pew poll found that for the most part homeowners aren’t panicking over the market’s softening.
The poll found residents of the country’s coasts feel better about the value of their homes than respondents living in the mid-section.

Among those who say their home is currently worth $500,000 or more, about 68 percent say their home value has risen “a lot” in the past few years. Only 34 percent of homeowners whose house is worth less than $250,000 say the same thing.

For more information, go to the Pew Research Center at http://pewresearch.org/social/pack.php?PackID=22.

Survey Says
Location, Location, Location

The most significant factors affecting housing during the coming years will be whether aging baby boomers decide to grow old where they are and where young immigrants decide to settle, according to a recent study released by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

William H. Frey, of the Brookings Institution, conducted the study for MBA’s Research Institute for Housing America (RIHA). The report finds that the overall U.S. population will experience rapid aging, as boomers grow older, while absorbing large numbers of young recent immigrants. Different regions of the country will have different demands for housing, driven by the relative impacts of aging in place vs. migration within the country and immigration from other countries. For example, suburban areas will gray faster than urban areas due to the boomers aging in place.

Growing Old in Place

The study identifies “New Minority States,” where Asians and Hispanics currently account for about one-third of the population, as New York, New Jersey, Florida, Illinois, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California.

“Faster Growing States,” which contain many suburban communities and attract migration from the rest of the country as well as recent immigrants, will have the highest rate of growth for the 55-and-older population. These states are New Hampshire, Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

“Slower Growing States” will have the lowest rate of overall population growth, but will gray rapidly through aging in place and will have the highest shares of seniors. They are Ohio, Michigan, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Washington, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, Montana and the District of Columbia.

New Minority States

States with the fastest senior growth won’t necessarily be the ones that now have the highest percentage of seniors. Instead, they will be states where there’s currently a younger population that will choose to grow old in place. Well-off senior populations will emerge in cities like Las Vegas, Denver, Dallas and Atlanta.

Suburbs of cities like Philadelphia and Chicago will age the fastest because younger residents are abandoning them.

Household mobility, previously a major driver of home sales, will fall off as baby boomers choose to age in place.

Want a copy of the report? Go to the RIHA Web site at http://housingamerica.org/docs/6694_00Demographics_WP_WB.pdf.