After extensive research reporting that active adult buyers had abandoned the concept of age-qualified communities that prohibit younger residents, a new survey suggests that may be exactly what they want.

In the summer of 2005, Mature Living Choices magazine surveyed more than 5,300 active adult buyers who were doing online research for a home. When asked what type of a community they were interested in, 70 percent said they wanted an age-qualified community in which the residents must be 55 or older, says Jeff Smedley, national sales and operations manager for the magazine.

“What makes it unique is we're actually in communication with the active adult buyer when they're in the process of looking for a home,” Smedley says.

Florida-based active adult marketing consultant Janis Ehlers cautions builders against rushing to build age-qualified communities. While real estate professionals understand the concepts of age-qualified and age-targeted communities—the survey defined age-qualified as “must be 55 years or older”—she questions whether the difference would be clear to consumers.