LIKE MANY COUPLES IN THE THROES OF A CORPORATE transfer, Ed and Susan Marquis' first meeting with their relocation realtor included a discussion about the couple's laundry list of housing criteria. Knowing that her clients were empty-nesters in their late 50s, the Realtor had assumed that an active adult area might hold a lot of appeal to the newcomers. But despite the stereotypes about older buyers, the Marquis' had other ideas. “I want a roomy house in an area with a variety of neighbors,” says Sue. “Young couples, older people, kids, and dogs. I don't want to live with a bunch of old people.”
According to a new study by ERA Real Estate, this new attitude is one that prevails among the 50-plus crowd. The survey of more than 1,500 consumers age 50 and older found that only eight percent of those considering a move in the next five years might consider purchasing a home in an active adult community. In addition, 57 percent of respondents would prefer to stay within 50 miles of their family during the next move, while 16 percent would consider a move of 1,000 miles or more.
Today, seniors account for nearly 25 percent of all homeowners. With the senior segment of the population expected to grow to almost 70 million by 2030, they'll account for nearly 20 percent of the population. “These survey results show that as more and more baby boomers turn 50, it is becoming harder to define the increasingly diverse mature consumer,” says Brenda Casserly, president and COO of ERA Franchise Systems. “Marketers today need to recognize the importance of understanding the many different concerns, wants, and needs of these mature consumers.”
Other findings include: