Ask Andy: Active Adult Living

Ask Andy: Active Adult Living

Posted 11/13/2017

As baby boomers race into their golden years, the nation – and our housing industry – face big changes. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 40 percent of the nation’s households are headed by someone over the age of 55. The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) estimates that figure will jump to 45 percent in the next five years.

What does aging have to do with housing? Plenty. Members of the 55-plus crowd have different home preferences than those in their single and child-rearing years. They’re empty nesters, active seniors and grandparents. And, they want homes that match their unique needs.

We sat down with Maracay Homes President Andy Warren to learn more about this segment of homebuyers and how homebuilders are responding to their preferences.

Andy, overall, what are active adult homebuyers seeking in a home?
Typically, they’re looking for homes with less overall square footage and more flexibility. They may be downsizing from a larger residence, and trading that former lifestyle for a home that provides minimal maintenance and maximum opportunity for fun. In short, they’re looking for places that meet them at their new-found life stage.

What sort of amenities do today’s active adults want?

Residents are often still working or recently retired. They enjoy communal amenities like pools, recreation centers, fitness centers and hiking trails. Many active adult communities – and master-planned communities in general – offer a full slate of social groups and activities that help neighbors build connections with one another. It’s through these events that residents can stay physically, emotionally and socially healthy.

There’s also an emphasis on “active.” Communities located near city centers allow residents to avoid isolation. Proximity to shopping, dining, entertainment and public transportation is also important.

What about the homes, themselves? How are they designed with this population in mind?
Many homes – including the homes in Maracay’s Freedom Collection – incorporate design elements that promote low-stress living. They include single-story layouts (no stairs to navigate), and special features like an extra bedroom suite for guests, and accessible kitchens and bathrooms.

Any other thoughts, Andy?
I believe the NAHB sums up the active adult buyer very well: “Today’s baby boomers are not looking for the isolated retirement communities of the past, yet many still want the sense of community and shared interest that come from living in a place designed for their generation. Active adult communities are made for residents looking to remain engaged and independent.”