Senior Buyers Are Reemerging in the Housing Market

September 30, 2020

As long as the proper health precautions are in place, seniors say, they are willing to resume home searches and purchases, a new report from John Burns Real Estate Consulting shows. Several age-qualified communities nationwide are reporting particularly strong home sales in August and September, the report says.

“While the first-time and move-up buyers have clearly been the headlines of the housing market resurgence, the active adult buyer is starting to reemerge,” said Ken Perlman and Lesley Deutch, managing principals at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, in a recent article.

Indeed, older Americans are a key component of housing demand. The 65-and-older population is predicted to increase by 17 million over the next decade, according to industry observers.

“They are wealthy with large homes they can sell,” Perlman and Deutch write. Also, the rising stock market and surging housing market recovery are giving them extra reassurance to move forward with home purchases.

But, as with all buyer populations, an ongoing lack of housing inventory may continue to be the biggest issue. Buyers may look to new-home construction to fill any gaps, while home builders say they’re trying to meet demand. Some builders are tripling the number of standing inventory homes they produce or simplifying what they offer in their homes, which could help streamline housing production and keep prices lower.

Homes that feature work-from-home spaces are also becoming important to the older population. More than 70% of new-home shoppers between the ages of 55 and 69 said they had a household member who worked at home at least part-time, a separate survey from John Burns Real Estate Consulting shows. Also, blended indoor and outdoor spaces, such as open corner sliders and outdoor living rooms, are important to those who live in warmer climates.

To attract older buyers, a strong virtual presence is essential, John Burns Real Estate Consulting says. “Active adult buyers are not afraid to use technology to search for a home; they rely on it,” Perlman and Deutch write. “Active adult developers and builders around the country reinforce that their buyers are doing extensive research online before ever coming to the sales office, and they’ve heard reports of conversion rates among prospects in this space tripling post-pandemic.” Nevertheless, the report says, senior buyers still want to visit sales offices before they buy. On-site offices and staged model units continue to be important in selling new-home construction.

“Our clients across the country told us that with proper safety precautions in place, active adult buyers prefer visiting sales offices or models in person,” Perlman and Deutch write.

The Light: The Active Adult Buyer Is Back!” John Burns Real Estate Consulting (Sept. 25, 2020)