Where is the Senior Housing?

I have been working with some prospective buyers for the past couple of days who are looking for the following – at least three bedrooms, two bathrooms, with the master bedroom suite on the main level. There is very little on the market for these clients. Charlottesville has been repeatedly ranked as one of the best places to live, top five college towns and best places to retire in the States.

Best places to retire … that implies that there is both adequate housing stock that is suitable for the (sorry for the broad brush) “Over-55 crowd.”

From a Businessweek article – And from Charlottesville, Va., to Hanover, N.H., you can always count on having plenty to do in a college town. If it’s not university-sponsored concerts and lectures, your choice may be volunteer programs and sporting events. Says retirement expert Mark Fagan, a professor of social work at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Ala.: ”Retirees and college students are always looking for the same thing: a good time.”

We found two suitable communities in the immediate Charlottesville area, one of which, Dunlora, is not an age-restricted community, but has the right type of house, and one development in Crozet. Many of the communities that are being designed for the Over-55 demographic are not located in or immediately around Charlottesville. They are being built in Nelson, Greene and Fluvanna. Bringing in the Baby Boomer demographic is hugely important. Seniors typically have less impact on infrastructure and existing services, add to the property tax base and can share their years of knowledge and experience, especially through programs such as the Jefferson Institute for Lifelong Learning – good for the entire community!

There is one obvious reason for builders to be particularly interested in baby-boom buyers: disposable income. Many boomers are selling a home to downsize … Some are able to pay cash, a convenience that younger buyers, just starting a family, often don’t have. … They don’t want the weekly yard maintenance that comes with larger, single-family homes, Miller said. “They also want lock-it-and-leave-it convenience,” meaning they can take extended trips at their leisure and at a moment’s notice, without having to worry about taking care of their house.

Jeff Jenkins, assistant director of the NAHB’s 50+ Division, agreed. “The days of shuffleboard are long gone,” he said. “These buyers today are more sophisticated. They’re more affluent. They want to be engaged on many different levels.”

The above-referenced Washington Post article touches on many very good points. Of note is this:

The Four Seasons at Ashburn Village, in Loudoun County, includes townhomes and condominiums that start in the upper $300,000s. The company has built a similar community in Warrenton … the Four Seasons at Vint Hill. They also have plans for Four Seasons Charlottesville, to be made up of 535 single-family, detached homes. (bolding mine)

Now I have some research to do.
UPDATE: Four Seasons Charlottesville will be … in Ruckersville! I spoke with their rep this morning. Pricing will be similar to one of their developments in NoVa, probably from the low $300k to high $500k. This development will be done by K. Hovnanian and will be located west along Route 29 to Route 33..

The Boomer demographic is one that is going to greatly influence our region and the housing market as a whole. One question – what happens to these $400k or $500k+ homes in 15 or 20 years? Who will buy them?

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  • T.H. Behrens

    Great question posed in the article on Where is Senior housing. Where will the Condo type homes selling now in the 300K to 500 K be priced in 15-20 years? My guess is the condo boom will bust leaving the market saturated. What’s amazing to me is that seniors are even considering condos as a lifestyle change. Over 55 can just as easily lock up there existing home, pay a lawn or snow service and head out without the expense of buying new, being tolerant of neighbors living in such close quarters and paying “God help us” association dues. We might do well to remember that the Baby Boomers were by in large an independent free spirited bunch who loved to take the less traveled road in their youth and tended to be rebels at least in thought. After years of conforming to jobs and family responsibilites I can see an increasing desire for them to become as they were in their youth. Look out developers – ads of seniors with their face to the setting sun walking along the golf course to their condo – well that sure “ain’t” my ideal of retirement and not one that I see many of my over 55 acquintenances aspiring to. It pretty likely that most of the 55s and over who wanted to see the government pull out of Vietnam and legalize pot would just as soon see the developers go broke.

  • Jim

    What’s amazing to me is that seniors are even considering condos as a lifestyle change.

    That astounds me every time it comes up as an option. For some, however, that close proximity to the City center and easy accessibility outweighs that which they are losing.

    Start saving now.

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