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Developers rethink traditional retirement community


NEW YORK – June 2, 2014 – Developers are thinking more creatively about housing options for people over 55, a demanding demographic on the cusp of retirement. Instead of placing greater emphasis on traditional retirement communities, builders are seeking to lure older people who want to remain active and/or continue to work.

Pleasing retirement-age clients is becoming increasingly crucial for developers as projects catering to this group rank among the hottest sectors. Last year, there were approximately 21,000 starts of age-restricted homes – an increase from 13,000 in 2012, reports the National Association of Home Builders.

Many older consumers postponed purchases during the financial crisis, notes Steven Bomberger, president of Benchmark Builders in Wilmington, Del. Now, people over 55 are returning to the markets.

"Seniors can move now because they have equity in their longtime homes, and they're ready to sell and get on with their lives," says Bomberger.

Most agree that demand for age-restricted communities will continue to grow rapidly over the next 10 years or so due to the aging population. The number of people 60 to 75 years old is projected to increase to 56 million in 2025 from 46 million currently.

While many older residents will continue buying in restricted neighborhoods for privacy and quiet, developers must provide features suitable for increasingly active customers who want more variety. These range from indoor walking tracks to the latest exercise equipment in on-site fitness facilities.

Source: New York Times (05/30/14) Luxenberg, Stanley

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Related Topics: Trends