Seniors Looking to Downsize, Seek Opportunities to Socialize in Urban Living Areas
Aging baby boomers want to feel connected. As many decide to downgrade the size of their current home, they search for a new one. However, it's more than just their living quarters that makes them want to buy.
"I think previously there was this preconceived idea that senior citizens retire and they move to Florida or Arizona or they move somewhere to a senior citizen community," says Steve Matthews, a real estate industry expert and chair for the Montclair Senior Citizen Advisory Committee in New Jersey. But he says there's a changing mindset emerging. "Senior citizens no longer want to be in an isolated place."
Many are selling their homes and looking for a community connection in the location where they plan to purchase their next home. "Like the rest of America, there was this movement going out toward suburbia. Now, there's a movement going back toward more urban areas and towns are starting to be challenged," says Matthews.
His town, Montclair, is a 30 - minute train ride from New York City. "So, it becomes a commuter town for people who work and it's always been known as a town where young families go and buy. But now we're seeing seniors who would previously move down to South Jersey or move somewhere else, choosing to stay closer to home," says Matthews.
And that means that towns like Montclair need to understand the changing needs of its residents.
There are multiple factors causing the desire for urban living. Extended family living under one roof and caring for each other, low - maintenance condos, and social connectivity are a few reasons that top the list.
"Towns aren't used to having to provide other services for seniors. Many towns have always focused services toward children - school systems, park systems, and things like that. Now, towns are being challenged to provide support systems for seniors who are choosing to retire in place," says Matthews.
As more seniors shop for smaller, easy - to - maintain homes, that puts them in the same market as first - time buyers. However, seniors often have one distinct purchasing advantage. "A lot of them are selling their home, so they're cash buyers and that makes them a stronger buyer in this market," says Matthews.
Some seniors tend to be interested in homes that are completely renovated or upgraded. But Matthews says he encourages seniors to look at homes that might need some remodeling because they may get a better deal. Then the buyers can renovate the home in a way that is most suitable for their needs.
For sellers looking to market their property, Matthews says there are some specific items that tend to appeal to this group such as, buildings with doormen and onsite maintenance staff, alternate transportation such as a senior shuttle or bus stop nearby, and 'lock and leave' homes (baby boomers are adventurous and like to have the ability to easily leave for travel). Studies show this group also likes smaller quarters. They're willing to get rid of extra stuff and live freely, yet comfortably which is why condos, active adult communities, and city apartments are highly appealing.
According to the Over - 50 Council of the National Association of Home Builders, as much as 6 percent of people between the ages of 55 and 64, move every year.
Written by Phoebe Chongchua
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