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How Baby Boomers are Changing Retirement Communities

by Published On: Jun 11, 2012

Second floor bedrooms? A basketball court with a jungle gym? No clubhouse?

The retirement community of the future may have some features that surprise you, according to developers interviewed recently by The New York Times. It may also be missing some features you've growth to expect. The changes are intended to attract Baby Boomers who are clearly not looking to spend their retirement the way their parents did.

"Some 55 and older are still working and want office space," says Tim Touhey, president of the New Jersey Builders Association. "Some may have adult children living at home. They want more variety and choice. And the development community is driven by what the market wants."

Listening to the market seems to be working. Luther Gueyikian, president of New Jersey-based Byron-Hill Homebuilders, is building 7 new houses in his newest adult community, the first new homes there since 2007. He plans to add 210 homes over the next few years. But that kind of success hasn't come without some adjustments by Gueyikian and other builders. These include: 

  • Scaled-down homes. Gueyikian is accustomed to building $2 million to $3 million homes on 2 or more acres each. Now he's putting homes on one-tenth of an acre and charging between $479,000 and $755,000.
  • Relaxed age restrictions. Gueyikian's newest community now requires that only one person in each home be older than 55. Other home residents can be as young as 19. That change came only after New Jersey planning officials granted a variance.
  • New ways of viewing space. Some developers are converting attic space into loft bedrooms, or adding finished basements for visiting grandchildren.
  • Mixed-use conversions. Other developers are getting permission to convert their planned age-restricted developments to a mix of single-family homes and age-restricted affordable rental apartments.

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