What Are 55+ Communities? – If you’ve thought about moving during retirement, you’re not alone. In 2020, a record 400,000 American retirees moved into new residences. The reasons people move are as varied as their life circumstances. Some want to be closer to family; some, done with child care obligations, want to move away from the area where their children live. Some want to move into a smaller place that’s easier to maintain. Others, once they’re no longer forced by career considerations into overpriced commuter neighborhoods, seek out a cheaper area where they can afford a larger house.
However, as varied as seniors and their needs are, they have to be considered because they are a growing demographic. The percentage of Americans ages 62 and older rose from 14.7% in the 2010 census to 16.2% in 2020 as the baby-boom generation aged. So, as Americans age and seniors need to move, one option looks increasingly attractive: the age-restricted community.
What are age-restricted communities?
Like most of their residents, age-restricted communities were born in the aftermath of World War II, when the postwar building boom gave rise to planned suburbs. Developers in the Southwest began building similar communities that rented only to residents ages 55 or older. The oldest continuously operating 55+ community is Sun City, Arizona, which now has a population of over 40,000.
The idea quickly spread, and age-restricted communities sprang up all across the country. Some looked much like the 1950s bedroom communities that inspired them, but others were modeled on high-rises or on villages with planned main streets. The largest age-restricted community in the country, The Villages in Florida, has a number of different communities, each with its own vibe. The Villages has over 56,000 homes.
What are the advantages?
Age-restricted communities are designed with seniors in mind. That means single-story residences with no inconvenient stairs or steps, easy to navigate with a wheelchair or walker. It also means they tend to be located in areas that are convenient to hospitals and medical care. Each has its own amenities: Many have on-site pools and golf courses, and most have clubhouses that host planned activities, clubs and classes where residents can meet and socialize. Because of the age restriction, the clubhouse is a good place to mingle with neighbors in the same age group.
Another advantage is that these communities are usually condominiums. Financially, that’s convenient for residents; taxes, fees and other bills are all wrapped up in a single monthly payment. Upkeep is also convenient, since maintenance of the grounds and buildings is the responsibility of the condo board.
Age-restricted communities are a popular option for retirees. They’re convenient and have age-targeted amenities and features. For some, they’re part of the perfect retirement lifestyle. Work with both real estate and financial professionals to see how you can move into a 55+ community.
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