Builders serving the 55-plus market should keep their eye on Nebraska, which ranked as the most popular U.S. state for retirees due to its financial stability and overall quality of life, according to a new report from LPL Financial.
The report looked at public data on healthcare costs and access, finance, affordable housing, employment and education and social factors like crime rates and traffic for each U.S. state and the District of Columbia. Michigan and Minnesota rounded out the list’s top three, while Oregon, California and New York ranked last.
Based on letter-grades, only five states were given an 'A' score, while 21 states and DC received a 'C.' The Midwest fared best on the list, with strong financial stability and housing affordability among states there leading to a regional average of 15th on the list. The highest-scoring states all reported strong financial conditions.
LPL's data departs from a March Bankrate report that put New Hampshire, Colorado and Maine as the best states for retirees based on cost of living, weather and healthcare quality. (In LPL's list, the highest-scoring states all reported strong financial conditions, while New Hampshire and Colorado earned a ‘C’ and Maine a ‘D’ in that category.) Bankrate’s report found that 47% of Americans would consider moving for retirement, with cost of living, healthcare quality and crime rate being the most important factors in their decision.
Research shows that older-adult households are moving into new, owned homes. But when they do, most downsize and relocate within their existing community, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University found that annually through 2035, more than 825,000 older-adult households will move into new homes, while another 1.6 million will transition into rental units.
This trend is sparking activity in the active-adult housing segment, with builders introducing smaller, more accessible units in communities focused on walkability to resources and social activities. Developer Minto Communities' Jimmy Buffett–themed active-adult community line and homebuilder D.R. Horton's Freedom Homes 55-plus product are two such efforts to tap the growing demand in the segment.
Still, most boomers want to stay in their existing homes. A 2014 AARP Public Policy Institute report found that 87% of people 65 years and older would choose to age-in-place, while a separate survey from the Demand Institute revealed that only 20% of boomers would opt to move to senior or active-adult communities.