- Homebuilder D.R. Horton announced Tuesday that is launching a new active-adult brand of homes after discovering that seniors were buying up to 45% of its entry-level offerings, according to the Star-Telegram.
- The nation's largest homebuilder gave no details on design or pricing of its new Freedom Homes brand but said the communities will cater to those seniors looking for their last home and an affordable "carefree, low-maintenance lifestyle."
- D.R. Horton said the new age-restricted homes will be available in eight housing markets by the end of 2016 — launching in Houston — and in about 30% of its 78 markets by the end of 2018. After Houston, the company will start offering its Freedom Homes brand in other Texas markets, as well as Florida and Arizona.
This isn't the first time senior homebuyers have garnered attention for snapping up housing inventory originally considered entry-level stock. Late last year, The Washington Post reported that downsizing baby boomers were selling off their larger homes and settling in what had been previously thought of as urban, millennial territory. These city-focused purchasing choices have provided a great option for seniors looking to take advantage of urban amenities but have made the limited housing supply in the hottest areas even more scarce — and pricey — for younger buyers.
According to the U.S. Department of Health's Administration on Aging, the U.S. 65-plus population will grow by more than 100% to 88.5 million by 2050, and housing for them will be a major issue. For those who don't move to assisted living or a nursing home, moving to an active-adult community or making the necessary aging-in-place renovations so that they can stay in their existing homes are two other options. Mike Shina of Atlanta-based Windsong Properties, an active-adult community builder, told Construction Dive that 90% of homeowners he encounters actually want to stay put rather than move, but for those who do choose to relocate, distance from "healthcare and grandchildren" are the primary drivers when deciding on a new community.
However, as Shina said, many seniors want to stay in their current homes. In fact, according to the National Association of Home Builders second-quarter Remodeling Index, older homeowners in the Generation X and baby boomer demographics are driving an uptick in aging-in-place renovations and other remodeling projects that would indicate a desire to stay in their existing homes.