Americans age 55+ are looking for homes close to family, work, and with a sense of style.
What does the 55+ crowd want in a home? Smaller, more energy-efficient homes in active, vital communities near work and family are the top requirements. Those are the findings from a study by MetLife and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) called “Housing for the 55+ Market: Trends and Insights on Boomers and Beyond.”
The study reveals that Boomers are looking for smaller, less expensive homes. This group isn’t ready to retire anytime soon, and with the Great Recession complicating things, they are staying in their jobs as long as possible to recoup financial losses.
The lure of “age-restricted” communities is there too, but only those that fit into the active lifestyle. These people aren’t ready for the rocking chair. The study notes that “those who moved from their existing homes did so primarily for reasons relating to their families, but the design and quality of the home, as well as the design and layout were the factors most often considered.”
Dave Crowe, NAHB’s chief economist agrees. “ A strong and growing number of retirees and empty-nesters are interested in either downsizing or moving to a more user-friendly home, especially if it’s near their existing community.”
Homebuilders are beginning to recognize what boomers want and incorporate that lifestyle in home design. In addition to a smaller home, a one level floor plan is preferable with open space and tall ceilings. Wider hallways are a plus, as is minimizing unnecessary staircases. Over 55ers want small luxuries, like double sinks and a soaking Jacuzzi-style tub, plus some space for hobbies.
Boomers, 38.9 million over the age of 65, are well-traveled, sophisticated consumers who have a good sense of what they want. And for housing, they want simplification that will enhance their lifestyles.
Written by Myra Vandersall