For the most part, baby boomers and active adults are terms that are synonymous; although the last half of the baby boomer generation have not reached the age of 50+.

Understanding the baby boomer generation – it's wants and needs, goals and expectations, thoughts and values – is the best way to understand how to sell in an active adult community. Remember the facts presented here about seniors. They are likely to buy a new house, they have the money to do it, and the group as a whole is growing quickly.

Aging Population
Our aging population is a substantial market to be addressed. If they were a country, the 65+ residents in the US would be the 13th largest nation in the world; more people than Canada. There were 58 million retirees in 2003 and there are 116 million retirees projected for 2020. During the 1990s, 24% of people turning 65 bought a new home. You can imagine the future possibilities.

Post-Retirement Goals
Traditionally, retirement has been a time of relaxation and recreation. The boomers have brought their forward looking perspective to retirement. A new career, a new degree, an adoption, are all projected for many active adults. As they live longer and are healthier, the opportunity to do more is essential to their housing choices.

The Myth of Wealth
77% of the nation's wealth is controlled by those 50 years of age and older. However, of this group, the top 25% have a median annual income of $100K while the bottom 25% have a median income of $10k and are disproportionately female. Targeting the right segment of this market is crucial to success.

Closer to Family
During the last decade retirees were focused on moving to the South and West. There was little concern for staying close to home. The “travel boom” was in effect and seniors wanted to live in an environment that was emotionally pleasing. Suddenly and with little warning there has been an almost instantaneous change in those habits. People are now projected to stay home. 52% plan to move closer to family. Markets that expected to lose a large percentage of their active adults are seeing a return of many and those retiring are staying close to home.

Maintenance-Free Lifestyle
77% of seniors have expressed the desire for a maintenance-free lifestyle. This involves maintenance-free yards, appliances and other home products.

Sources: NAHB Builders Survey On Senior Housing 2003; 2002 Seniors Research Group