There are countless statistics showing that Americans are living longer, but how about this one: According to the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Real Estate, in 1960 only 3,000 Americans were over the age of 100. By 2012, that number will change to 2.45 million. And all of them will need somewhere to live.
That's one reason so many builders have branched out into the lucrative world of age-restricted, active adult communities, an area that was once dominated by the big guys. Increasingly, smaller regional builders have started doing their homework—listening to industry experts such as Bob Karen and Bill Becker, who know the active adult market inside out—and taking the plunge.
Some, such as Granite Bay, Calif.–based Jenamar Communities, which got Jubilee at Hawks Prairie off the ground in Lacey, Wash., have the active adult experience in sunnier markets to back up a Pacific Northwest foray. Others, such as Lokahi Ventures in Honolulu, know that it takes a top-notch architect to pull off homes for well-heeled retirees. And some, such as Caruso Homes in Crofton, Md., have the confidence to hire an active adult expert and go with what they know best: building great houses and selling them like crazy.
It's a wide-open world for the active 55-and-over crowd. Build them some great houses and figure out plenty for them to do and you'll be richly rewarded.
In Lacey, Wash., strong architecture and natural beauty pull in the 55-and-over crowd.
Hawaii's Wailea Beach Villas shows what it takes to make prosperous retirees buy rather than rent.
At Symphony Village on Maryland's Eastern Shore, homeowners serve as ambassadors to help sell the active adult lifestyle.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Honolulu, HI.