Skip to content

Get answers to your legal and financial affairs questions about caregiving from AARP expert Amanda Singleton. Join the discussion today!


Housing Trends Update for the 55+ Market (2011)


The Baby Boomer generation is now straddling the key age of 55, where housing can legally be age-restrictedand therefore designed specifically to serve them. The MetLife Mature Market Institute wrote this report to provide updates on trends in the housing market for individuals 55 and older, based on insights from the American Housing Survey (AHS). Specifically, the report focuses on households age 55 or older, those living in age-qualified active adult communities, other non-qualified but predominantly 55+ communities, and age-restricted rental communities.

Key Points

This report thoroughly evaluates data from the 2009 AHS, and is generally considered to be one of the most comprehensive studies of this particular housing segment. Projections show that there will be an increasing demand for housing in 55+ communities as the population continues to age. While buying age-qualified homes became more practical with the recent housing downturn, older adults were also forced to rely more heavily on their savings for down payments, rather than the sale of a previous home.

Other highlights from the report include:

  1. While most 55+ households are generally happy with their homes and communities, people living in age-qualified adult housing report being the happiest (an average of 9.0 out of 10).
  2. The primary motivation for moving to a 55+ owner-occupied community continues to be proximity to family and friends; however, in recent years, the number of people citing proximity to work has increased significantly.
  3. Fifty-five plus communities were by no means immune to the housing downturn. The median value of age-qualified, active adult homes only decreased by 6 percent from 2005 to 2009. This relatively low decrease widened the gap between age-qualified homes and other types of homes purchased by 55+ buyers.
  4. There were approximately 54,000 housing starts in 55+ communities in 2011, and that number is expected to rise to 79,000 in 2012.

How to Use

This report provides insight into both the attitudes and financial situations of people in the 55+ housing market. Planners and local officials can use this information to recognize the forthcoming increase in demand for 55+ housing, particularly as the financial and economic benefits become more apparent. Designers for future communities should also recognize important lifestyle factors – proximity to loved ones, desire to work from home, etc. – and design homes and neighborhoods accordingly.

View full report: Housing Trends Update for the 55+ Market (2011) (PDF – 1.7 MB)

Stay Informed — For Free!

Each issue of the award-winning AARP Livable Communities e-Newsletter contains a mix of inspiring examples, community resources and information about livability efforts from places near and far. Subscribe today!

AARP Livable Communities e-Newsletter