Baby Boomers who refuse to concede that they are getting old are changing the way real estate professionals and homebuilders think about retirement housing.
The National Association of Home Builders says the fastest-growing part of the housing market is the 50-plus segment of buyers that includes boomers, empty nesters, pre-retirees and other categories of older buyers. People age 55 or older bought nearly a fifth of the 1.1 million new homes sold in the country in 2003.
Real estate buyer's agents say Baby Boomers who have waited to buy their ideal empty nest home (near a golf course and in a community where they can exercise, volunteer and enjoy their second life) are now seriously shopping as mortgage interest rates rise.
These active over-55 buyers are looking for open floor plans, high-end appliances, gas fireplaces and community amenities such as a fitness club and a swimming pool. Here is what they want in a home:
A well-equipped kitchen.
Snow removal and lawn care services.
No three-bedroom or four-bedroom homes.
Del Webb, the Michigan developer of master-planned and retirement communities, conducted a Baby Boomer online survey through Harris Interactive polling 1,800 men and women between the ages of 41 and 59 from across the United States. The survey revealed 59 percent of younger Boomers (ages 41 to 49) plan to buy a retirement home, while half of the population between the ages of 50 and 59 is likely to do the same.