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John Harris, Real Estate Pro in Branchburg, NJ

Is interest in age restricted communites increasing or decreasing in your area? Why do you think that is?

Asked by John Harris, Branchburg, NJ Fri Aug 6, 2010

Looking for market trends to see if there are marked differences by region.

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John,
I believe you're right about interest varying by region. I see you're from New Jersey, so you're probably acutely aware of the surplus of age-restricted communities there.

In the article by Erik Ortiz, referenced below, there's a quote from housing expert Jeffrey Otteau that "retirees here are choosing to move to lower-cost states, leaving a glut of age-restricted housing in the Garden State equivalent to a 16-year supply , , , ," That is a huge inventory to work through, and I would imagine a lot of those communities may be converted to non-age-restricted.

Here in my area (east central coast of Florida), we have quite a few of the over-55 communities. I would have to say there's still a demand for them at this point. Florida has traditionally been a destination for retirees, so the fact that we have a certain proportion of these communities is not surprising. They serve a lot of needs.

However, that being said, I wonder if we'll see the over-55 communities evolve into something else. You could say there's been something of an evolution already.

Decades ago, many of these communities were basically mobile home parks, with maybe a pool, where you bought the trailer and rented the land. These were followed by trailer and manufactured home communities where the owners owned the land as well. Often, these communities were created in a terrific location--riverfront, for example--and had numerous amenities. Or you might find a community of small duplexes near a golf course, with each half a separate property. You were "buying a lifestyle" and the house itself was secondary. This is how things have developed up to this point in my area.

The real advantage to this housing has always been affordability, and I believe, because of that, there will continue to be a demand in the short term. However, the oldest of the "baby boomers" turn 65 next year, and this group has always done things differently. I could be wrong, but I just can't picture "boomers" moving into the traditional over-55 community in large numbers.

Since we have requirements for all new developments to include affordable housing in their mix of homes, I wouldn't be surprised to see "boomers" moving into the new developments instead. Unfortunately, right now, developers here usually make their lowest priced housing 2- or even 3-story townhomes, since it's an easy way to keep their costs down. I really wish some of them would build "Katrina cottages" or other small single-story homes that are both attractive and affordable, and could appeal to the next generation of retirees.

For what it's worth, I really believe that living in a community with a mix of people of different ages could be the key for the "boomers" to staying young in heart, mind, and body.

Warm regards,
Maggie Hawk, REALTOR
(386) 314-1149
Watson Realty Corp.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 6, 2010
On a subject that may take this question to a different level is the the definition of restrictions.
I personally am against any and all restrictions. The right of ownership is always compromised with these selective factors. The right of use is the freedom that is questioned. I have witnessed the damaging effect of these practices when the economy takes a turn. I have also seen the effect when a family member passes away leaving inheritance of a property such as we describe, with out the ability for the members to use or occupy, rent because of age restrictions. The investment becomes a burden to the families rather than an asset. I have witnessed where families of the elderly are evicted for these reasons. On account of these failed measures families cannot wait to unload them and in most cases at a loss. These underlined problems are impacting this market at this time even more.
While I have the ultimate respect for the elderly by choice I would never place my mom in such situation.
The more restriction you place against a property the more difficult it becomes to market.
A shrinking market nonsense. Young families are looking for affordable housing need not be excluded. Most of these properties designated for seniors are eventually become absorbed by need and demand.
In real estate we have learned BEST USE. The practical answer is with time and demand the definition of use must be identified . What is the highest and best use for value and return? The solution is simple you live by the with the consequences of restrictions limited to age or you change.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 14, 2010
The hardest hit casualties of this economy are our elderly who are on fixed income. Age restricted communities are finding evidence of this reality. More owners are selling than buyers that are buying. With tight credit and downward action on prices the elderly are attempting to salvage their equities to survive.
Many are moving back with their families or to nursing homes. The ones that are independent hold on to their savings and rent rather than buy. State required levels of occupancy is rethinking associations of maintaing senior status or change.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 14, 2010
I have seen it be somewhat flat. I think it also depends on where the community is and if it has competition. I know in Northern NJ there is still a good demand for active adult communities. However, since many of the potential buyers have to sell homes to buy one, the slower market is also slowing down the rate at which these buyers can purchase. I know because of market uncertainty, there does appear to be quite a demand for rentals in these communities, as buyers can then decide if they like it or not before they buy and wait until they feel the economy is more financially stable. Hope that helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 7, 2010
I have been just notified that NO LENDERS will lend on one particular age restricted community. Too many rentals, prices sliding too much, big, unending lawsuit. Just thought I would update the continued slide of active adult viability in northern NJ. Better go list someplace else......
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 2, 2010
Hi John, agree with Deborah - I was just chatting with an agent in my office that lives in and does a good bit of business in an age restricted community in Somerset. I asked her this very question and she said that activity has picked up in the last few weeks.

One issue with for the downsizers who have been waiting - is that it may take some time for their current home to sell. But if they price and market their homes properly they will sell, and they will then be in the position to make their move.

Best,
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 14, 2010
While the inventory levels are extremely high, the inquiries in this segment of the market have picked up in recent months. Seller who had been waiting for the market to "come back" before downsizing are now concluding it will not be coming back soon.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 13, 2010
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
MVP'08
Contact
In the San Luis Obispo area, I would say that it is fairly high and remains so. With the Baby Boomers entering their retirement years, I'm sure these properties will maintain value and interest for years to come. We re also seeing an increase of specialized housing that appeals to handicapped persons: homes with elevators, apartments with elevators (unusual for the most part around here) and handicapped-access kitchens and bathrooms, etc. Again, as more people live longer, more will be dealing with physical limitations.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 7, 2010
Port St Lucie Florida: There is a definite increase in adult communities . Abingdon has a brand new community in Tradition also The Seasons at Tradition has recently re opened after Levitt lost it a few years ago and is now owned by AVATAR Holdings, we have 2 in St Lucie West : Kings Isle and The Cascades Only one condo complex , Vista St Lucie in the area that I can think of , but several in nearby Stuart and Jensen Beach. I agree with Maggie we will see a different trend with these communities much like the VILLAGES in Lake Mary .
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 7, 2010
Statistics show it is decreasing. It just restricts the buyer pool too much!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 6, 2010
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