A massive wave of baby boomers is on the verge of retirement, and homebuilders nationwide are getting a crash course in how to meet that generation’s unique housing needs.
According to a study by NAHB’s 50+ Housing Council, the 55-and-older population is expected to exceed 85 million within six years, and more than a quarter of a million people will opt to buy new housing in communities specifically built for people in that age bracket. And, surprisingly, those communities will likely not be in the Sun Belt.

The study showed that more than half of all new buyers in 55-plus communities move within the same county as they currently live.
“The trend of those 55 and older is to not move far from where they worked and raised their families,” said Mark Stemen, senior vice president with K. Hovnanian’s active adult division in the mid-Atlantic and a member of NAHB’s 50+ Housing Council.
The report also showed that this age group wants to downsize, though not by much.
“The average home in an active adult community still includes more than two bedrooms and more than 2,000 sf of living space,” said Paul Emrath, NAHB’s lead researcher on the study.
What the home is less likely to include is a specialty space such as a den or library.
Bob Tippets, former chair of the NAHB 50+ Housing Council, said boomer buyers may be scaling back on home size, but not on quality, and most still want the latest bells and whistles.
“This group wants upgrades they couldn’t have before – home media centers, entertaining spaces, granite and hardwood.”
Security, such as that provided by gated communities, is also important to this group.