A recent study released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and MetLife Mature Market Institute revealed that a growing number of baby boomers are opting for age-restricted communities. Adults have been flocking to 55+ aged active adult communities in growing numbers to take advantage of active lifestyle options and low maintenance ranch-style housing. Despite the growth in popularity of age-restricted communities, the study concluded that an overwhelming majority of older adults will choose to “age in place.” Aging in place refers to ones desire to retrofit their home to accommodate the changing needs of adults as they grow older. The study is based on figures from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey from 2001 to 2007.
The study revealed that an estimated 3 percent of those aged 55 and older will choose to live in an age-restricted housing development during their retirement. This is a substantial increase from the 2.2 percent who said they would live in age-restricted housing when the survey was originally taken in 2001. While the numbers may seem small, 3 percent of the current population equates to over 1.2 million households who are currently 55 or older and eligible to live in age-restricted active adult communities. Furthermore, there are 78 million baby boomers expected to reach retirement age in the next 20 years. If 3 percent of the boomers opt for age-restricted housing, that equates to more than 2.2 million people. However, if the current trend continues, the percentage of the older adult population who desires to live in age-restricted communities will likely grow beyond the current 3 percent. The study concluded that among those living an age-restricted community there were several common factors that prompted the move. Primary reasons for living in an age-restricted active retirement community include family reasons, design and look of the community, quality of the home, and the design and layout of the residence.