Retirement Real Estate of the Future

Article by G. Brian Davis

Fifteen years ago, retirees wanted a spacious home overlooking a golf course in Florida as their ideal retirement real estate. Today, things are looking a little different.

Polls among Americans aged 55 or over are showing new and different trends. Many are still attracted to Florida and Arizona for their warmth, but the often-high cost of living, and cost of real estate/rental agreements, in these states are leading many to reconsider. The two top retirement states now? North and South Carolina, according to home builder surveys.

Further, expensive golf courses no longer rule the retirement roost. Hiking trails, bike paths, and other amenities that are friendly to the active lifestyle are now higher on these older Americans’ priority lists.

Then there’s size; most older Americans are now quite serious about downsizing, for several reasons, particularly the lower cost and the lower maintenance. These two reasons are even further connected by the fact that most retirees list service and maintenance amenities, such as housekeeping, landscaping, and home repair as services that they want in retirement rental agreements or real estate purchases.

What’s the common denominator? In a word, money.

Today’s economy has many older Americans retiring earlier against their will, and most retirees will be on fixed income. To make things worse, many will not recover nearly as much money from their current real estate as they were counting on, and which pulls the reins in even tighter. And then there’s fact that many of these older Americans have aging parents who require a lot of time and money to care for, and they themselves grow likelier to develop their own health problems, or a spouse with health problems, that cost a great deal of time and money as well.

Older Americans will search for low cost of living, inexpensive rental agreements or real estate prices, and as much bang for their limited bucks as possible. Among homebuilder surveys, they elected for less frills (such as entertainment features and wood-burning fireplaces) than their younger counterparts, and more safety and ease-of-use features, such as non-slip flooring, bathroom grip bars, garage door openers, and easy-to-use thermostats and windows. Analysts expect the demand for luxury inclusions in rental agreements and real estate for retirees to drop steadily over the next decade.

They do want easy access to services, however. Rental agreements and real estate locations with food, shopping, and entertainment services within walking distance are highly valued, which ties into the desire for an active lifestyle and a reduced dependence on driving and expensive vehicles generally.

These older Americans reaching retirement age will want something different from what their parents wanted, and from what younger Americans want, and these desires will all center around affordability and ease of use. They still desire warm climates, but their priorities are shifting towards low cost of living areas, with inexpensive rental agreements and condominiums with high availability of services to make their lives easier. While California, Florida, and Arizona are still high on the list of retirement destinations, less expensive newcomers are starting to make headway, and are expected to continue to do so.

A real estate investor and landlord, Brian also writes for dozens of ezines and online real estate resources, and manages EZ Landlord Forms, a one-stop shop for landlords that offers state-specific rental agreements and other landlord forms, articles, and directories of resources.










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