For existing single-family homes, the national median price stood at $170,600 in the fourth quarter of 2010, barely rising from $170,300 for the same period in 2009, the National Association of Realtors reported in February.
"The active adult is moving from their larger home to a smaller property, depending upon their lifestyle," says Armand Christopher, 62, owner of Senior Living Realty in Dallas. "What they're trying to do is get away from the expense of the big home."
Christopher and his wife, Cindy, 58, a recruiting director for a large accounting firm, enjoy the freedom of living in a gated homeowners' community catering mainly to the 55-plus age group. Lawn mowing and landscaping are included in their maintenance fee, and there's a common area with a swimming pool, tennis courts and other amenities.
When it comes to prices, homes in senior communities can range from very affordable to the millions of dollars. The same is true for stand-alone homes in cities and towns across the country.
We took a look at the affordable. Here are some examples from four U.S. regions of what you can get for under $200,000, ranging from new construction to old-time charm.
Click on their websites for photos and more details.