Archive: January 2008
The National Investment Center (NIC) for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry recently released the 2007 results of its "National Housing Survey of Adults Age 55+." The study is designed to gauge the opinions, attitudes, perceptions and behaviors of people aged 55 and over relating to adult communities. The previous study was conducted in 1998. The nearly ten year lapse since the last study was conducted provided some very interesting findings regarding the awareness and acceptance of age-qualified housing.
"Prices shot up like rockets and are coming down like feathers." According to Orlando-based economist Hank Fishkind. "It takes a while for prices to fall as far as they should because sellers are often unwilling to lower their price to market levels." This phenomenon seems to be dragging out the slump in the housing market longer than most expected. As a result, many homeowners have found themselves unable to make payments on a home that is worth less than what they originally paid for it. For many, the only likely outcome is foreclosure. Recently, however, some homeowners have been given the option of selling their home short and avoiding foreclosure.
In 2007, Al Gore accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for his initiatives surrounding global warming. Despite one of their own leading the charge surrounding the whole green initiative, many Baby Boomers were less pronounced than younger generations when it came to taking a stance on the issue. But it seems recent attitudes have changed and many Boomers are finding ways to join the green bandwagon in ways such as buying green products to building green houses. This article from the USA Today discusses the changing attitudes of Boomers with respect to the green movement.
On a recent trip to Grand Haven active adult community in Romeoville, IL, I noticed something that I was not accustomed to seeing in Chicago area 55+ adult communities. In the main lodge, there was a group of adults huddled around a television laughing hysterically and high-fiving one another. On first glance, I figured they must be watching a funny show or movie. Needing to satisfy my curiosity, I moved in a little closer and realized that the residents were in an intense game of Wii bowling. Wii is Nintendo's latest smash hit video game counsel that allows users the ability to control the action and movement of players on the screen with a handheld remote.
Think you are too close to your neighbors now? Try living with them. A new active adult development in Boulder, CO is trying just that. Silver Sage Village is an age-restricted community with a catch: residents live in homes that share common areas such as kitchens and dining rooms. The approach seems to cater to seniors who want the freedom of independent living with the conveniences that communal living can offer. Residents who live in Silver Sage remark on how convenient it is to have multiple people to do the chores such as cooking and cleaning.
Could 2008 mark the year that housing incentives go away? If builders have their way, the answer would likely be "yes." "We are going to get away from these crazy incentives that have been flooding the marketplace," said Jim Hughes, Executive Vice President of Wiseman-Hughes Enterprises, a builder based in Wheaton, Illinois. "We got caught up with everybody else--the free $60,000 in upgrades here, or the $70,000 off a spec home there." While it is no secret that builders certainly want to keep selling, they do not want to give their homes away like they did the last two years. What buyers have seen with incentives the last two years, was an anomaly that will likely not be replicated any time soon. Buyers have pointed out that since the market is not back on track, they expect to continue to see large incentives.
Well, at least that is what Evanston real estate agent Mark Nash predicts for the coming year. Nash is an agent with Coldwell Banker and as he does every year, Nash has made his list of predictions as to what will become mainstream for homes in 2008. Here is what he is predicting: What's In: - Home Buyers. In 2008 the buyers will rule the industry and they know it. Expect buyers to take their time and be very picky. - Destination Bathrooms. Homeowners are more than ever lavishing their master bathrooms as spa-like getaways. Don't be surprised to see bathrooms outfitted with wireless internet, flat screen TV's and espresso machines.
A recent article in the Chicago Tribune made some predictions for the housing market in 2008. They are telling us to expect more of the same. Fortunately, the Chicago market seemed to have been spared from the worst of the housing slump. According to the most recent report from the Illinois Association of Realtors, housing prices in the Chicago metro area were up 0.8 percent from a year ago to a median price of $247,000. Unfortunately, the rest of the state didn't fare as well, reporting a 3 percent decline in home prices.
Let's face it, the media isn't exactly painting a rosy picture of the real estate market right now and that is scaring a lot of people. While some real estate professionals might argue that now is a great time to buy because prices have corrected and there are some great deals in the market, others argue that prices could shift even further, and they could find themselves buying a home that might go down further in value. After all, many of the people who listened to the so called "real estate experts" who told them to buy in the spring of 2007 when prices were a steal, are not too pleased that the home they bought less than a year ago is not worth what they paid for it.
This whole concept of retirement is getting a little sketchy for boomers. Sure there are those who work hard for a number of years and at some point they just hang it up...pack it in...finis, and abruptly end the employment phase of their lives in one fell swoop. However, for many approaching what normally would be labeled the retirement years, that no longer is the norm or the preference. A considerable number of boomers instead are choosing to reorient their lives rather than retire. That reorientation might take the form of cutting back on hours or responsibilities at their place of employment. Or it might mean downsizing their careers with another job altogether that entails less commitment, less time, less stress, part-time status, seasonal work and flexible schedules. The Baby Boom generation was brought up with the notion - right or wrong - that their lives needed to revolve around their work, and the rest of their existence somehow had to accommodate this notion. However, as boomers now choose reorientation over retirement, they rearrange their lives more around family, friends and personal interests. Work still may be an important element in their lives, but it is no longer the center of their universe.