Why Age 61 Is Important to Real Estate

March 19, 2015

By age 61, the majority of people feel free to choose where they most want to live, according to a new study by Merrill Lynch, "Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices."

"Throughout most of people's lives, where they live is determined by their responsibilities," according to the report. "Most careers demand that people live within a reasonable commuting distance from where they and/or their spouse work. However, as people enter their 50s and 60s, they begin to cross what this study reveals to be the 'Freedom Threshold.'" That’s the age when people say they can finally choose where they want to live, according to the survey of more than 3,600 retirees.

Indeed, two-thirds of the retirees surveyed say they are now living in the best home of their lives.

Most retirees move at least once during retirement. But surprisingly, only half choose to downsize into a smaller home. Three in ten of retirees decide to upsize into a larger home.  The top reason to upsize: They want to have a home that's comfortable enough for family members to visit and stay with them, according to the survey.

"Retirees often find their homes become places for family to come together and reconnect, particularly during holidays or summer vacations," according to the report. Some choose to upsize so that family members can live with them too.

Retirees say the ideal place allows spending time with others their own age yet they also seek to be around those of diverse ages. Compared to younger people, older Americans are far more likely to want diversity in age and generation among their communities and neighbors. As such, just 7 percent of retirees surveyed have opted to move into age-restricted retirement communities.

Source: "Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices," Merrill Lynch