Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What type of housing do the 50-plus want?

Back in April 2009 I wrote about a report from MetLife Mature Market Institute (MMI) about housing and the 55+ Market.

The second part of the study has been published that is based around two surveys. One looks at what builders are building, compared to what they were doing in 2002. The other looks at what the older customer actually want.

Here are some of conclusions:
  • About two-thirds of respondents (63%) plan to age in their current homes, while 12% plan to buy another home. About one-quarter (26%) are not sure.
  • Preference for suburban life: The majority of respondents prefer a home in a suburb, with 32% wanting to live in close-in suburbs and 31% in outlying suburbs. In comparison, 28% prefer a rural community, while only 9% want to live in a central city.
  • One-level living: Respondents overwhelmingly prefer a single-story home (79%) over a two-story home (15%) or a split-level home (7%).
  • “Same-Sizing” the New Home: More than half of respondents (51%) prefer three bedrooms, while 18% want four or more bedrooms. About three-quarters prefer the master bedroom on the first floor.
  • The top five inside features: The five features rated most important were: washer and dryer in the home/unit, storage space, windows that open easily, master bedroom on the first floor in a two-story home, and easily usable climate control (thermostat).
  • Green Is Good - but not key: About one-quarter of 55+ respondents do not care about the impact building a home has on the environment. While another 23% said they are concerned about the environment, it does not drive their decision to purchase. Only 12% said they would pay more for an environmentally friendly home.
  • Local amenities: Most respondents listed proximity to a shopping centre as influencing their choice of a new community (57% noted it as Somewhat to Very Important), followed by proximity to a hospital/doctor’s office (55% rated it as Somewhat to Very Important).
  • Lots of broadband: Technology features are important to 55+ consumers, with 83% of respondents rating high-speed Internet access as Somewhat to Very Important.

One of biggest gaps between customers and builders is the provision of services such as interior and exterior home repair, transportation, housecleaning, etc., as consumers clearly strive for a maintenance-free lifestyle. There were a lot more areas where customers and builders were on different sheets.

If you are in anyway involved in the 50-plus housing market then you must read these two reports. Dick Stroud

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