In last week's survey, Big Builder Online questioned its readers about their active adult operations over the past 12 months and what they expect of that market segment in the future.

Opinions were mixed on both the segment's past performance and future projections. Half of the respondents said they think their active adult business has been more affected by the current housing conditions over the past 12 months than their other core business segments, while 40% said it has fared about the same and 10% said it has been less affected.

Looking ahead to the next 12 months, the majority of respondents--40%--said they see their active adult operations remaining the same. However, 20% of respondents were optimistic, saying the market represents an opportunity to focus on growing the segment, while another 20% said more weakness will take a toll on active adult sales. For the 70% of respondents who said they expect the active adult business to be negatively affected in the future, 30% expect that the negative impact will be between a 0% and 5% decline, 10% project a 10.1% to 15% fall-off, another 10% plan on a 15.1% to 20% slide, and 20% project a 20.1% to 25% deterioration.

To meet the market conditions ahead in the active adult segment, half of the respondents said they will redesign the product, while 40% said they will find new financing programs and 30% said they will look for new land opportunities and open new communities. Out of the remaining 20% of respondents, 10% said they will lay off people from the business and 10% said they will mothball existing communities.

One respondent noted his firm's strategy: "Restructure with new product and segment the product lines more toward product diversification to fit different market buyers."