In its 2016 Aging-in-Place survey, real estate website HomeAdvisor found that while 86% of homeowners are aware of renovations designed to allow them to "age in place" in their homes, fewer than one-quarter have undertaken any such work on their property.
More than half of homeowners surveyed said they intend to live in their current home for the foreseeable future.
The 50-plus market will likely account for more than one-half of the country’s GDP, according to HomeAdvisor, citing data from AARP. If the market were its own country, that would put its GDP third among countries behind the U.S. overall and China.
Universal design principles are growing in popularity as the aging baby boomer generation considers how to adapt their homes to allow them to live there longer. But the perception among homeowners of accessibility-minded upgrades and renovations as being decidedly geriatric or tied to the presence of a pre-existing physical disability could be keeping the industry from realizing the demand for this kind of work.
The number of Americans aged 65 and older is expected to double by 2050 to 88.5 million, according to the U.S. Department of Health, raising questions around the type, makeup and location of the housing options that will service the members of this group as they age. Although senior living centers and active-adult communities are coming online in greater numbers to cater to this growing population, most say they want to stay in their homes for as long as they can. As a result, many are downsizing or renovating their current residences to include accessibility features.
The market for aging-in-place renovations is at least $13 billion, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies, accounting for 5.5 million older households that include an individual with mobility challenges but lack "no step" entryways. In a report on design trends expected to guide the industry over the next decade, the American Institute of Architects included aging-in-place and universal design features like wide hallways, handrails and single-level residences. Additionally, technology is among the features that homeowners are asking for when they consider accessibility — including home security systems, smart thermostats and lighting — according to the HomeAdvisor survey.