Are you 55 or older and househunting? To identify preferences when it comes to choosing a community, home, and real estate agent, 55places.com conducted its annual National Housing Survey to better understand top motivators driving 55+ homebuyers.
The survey, which asked more than 2,000 participants across the U.S.––93% of whom are 55 and older––reveals interest in a variety of relocation destinations, lifestyle choices, and home amenities, according to a news release.
Moving Motivators Are Driven by Varying Factors
Reasons for moving may vary but the top motivators include the desire for a 55+ community (50%), better weather (30%), and retirement (29%), followed by lower cost of living (21%), decreasing taxes (21%), and downsizing home (19%). Outside of factors driving people to move, it’s evident that access to an active lifestyle is paramount. Athletic clubs (51%), health groups (49%), and travel clubs (46%) were top activities of interest, while desired community amenities include a fitness center (61%), outdoor pool (53%), and outdoor walking/running trail (45%).
Areas of Interest Expand Past the Sunshine State
About 46% of respondents say they are definitely moving states, and Florida (48%) and Arizona (26%) remain top selections* when asked which ones are being considered. However, states that were once seen as non-traditional retirement locations like South Carolina (27%), North Carolina (23%), Georgia (15%), and Tennessee (14%), continue to see increased interest year after year. Builders are taking notice, too, and are meeting the demand by developing more mid-sized communities in these areas.
Affordable Housing Remains Top of Mind
While renting remains a popular option, 77% of respondents indicated they are planning to purchase a home, specifically a single-family home (65%). When asked about the price, participants expect the market value of their next home to be slightly less (22%) or much less (21%) than their current home. For desired home features*, single-level living was marked significant for nearly half of respondents (45%), followed by modern kitchen (28%), and garage (38%) as the top options selected.
COVID-19 Won’t Affect 55+ Living Long-Term
The coronavirus pandemic disrupted many lives this year and periodically shut down much of the real estate market and country, leading communities and lifestyle directors to adjust their socially-centric environments through virtual and outdoor events. COVID-19 may impact short and long-term program planning and communal congregation, however, it won’t have a permanent impact on 55+ living overall.
“Active adult communities are built around principles like belonging and wellbeing, and the coronavirus pandemic will not change that,” said Bill Ness, CEO and founder of 55places.com in the news release. “While we may see people get creative with their space, like using multi-purpose rooms for an in-home office or a makeshift gym, the larger trends surrounding community desires and designs will not change.”
Find more information about 55places’ 2020 National Housing Survey here.