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Age-targeted Communities and Their Appeal

Independence Hall community center nearing completion - photo taken January 2008

There are some communities that are not age-restricted, but for a variety of reasons, they are appealing to active adults and are marketed as such. These communities are collectively called age-targeted communities. While they are not allowed to make such claims due to anti-discrimination laws, one can easily judge which communities are age-targeted and keep these in mind.

Why wouldn't a developer make his or her community age-restricted if they are trying to appeal to mature adults? There are many reasons. Among them: They do not feel the community should have the amenities that an age-restricted community is expected to have. This saves the developer money, but also saves the homeowner money in terms of monthly fees.

They have other age-restricted communities in the same area and want to offer appealing choices to their buyers. During the planning process, the municipality surrounding their community may not be in favor of an age-restricted community. There may be other factors such as nearby schools, playgrounds, or parks that will appeal to families with small children who do not mind living among predominantly older residents. Many people, although qualifies in age, do not want to live in an age-restricted environment.

Some qualities of an age-targeted community might be:

  • Low-maintenance yards
  • Amenities such as workout facilities or walking trails
  • Single-floor floor plans
  • Floor plans with first floor master bedrooms
  • Proximity to golf courses, towns, and other social and recreational opportunities

Reasons to consider age-targeted communities over age-restricted communities:

Potential higher resale value. If there are not as many 55 and older buyers on the market when you are ready to sell, you can sell to anyone who can afford your house. Look at the numbers; it seems unlikely that there will be as many people buying retirement housing in 20-30 years as there will be over the next ten, when Baby Boomers are retiring in huge numbers.

Variety of people in your community. Think of some of your favorite co-workers and people in the community where you have lived. Not all of them were near your age. Tip: Look around the community and meet some of the neighbors before buying in a community. They are usually willing to tell you how the community lives. They may say that people exist well, despite the high number of 55 and older residents. They may say that there is a division.

The right amount of amenities. Because age-restricted communities are expected to have a lot of amenities, they often go overboard, as discussed above. Age-targeted communities can take a more common sense approach to the amenities. The right amount of amenities means the right amount of money being spent on them. If there are not enough amenities, you may wish you bought in a community where there is more to do, at least until you meet your new set of friends. Tip: Figure out what you will likely use and how much it is worth to you. If a community simply does not offer enough, perhaps you require an age-restricted community.

Anything else you like about a community that is not in the age-restricted communities you might consider. There may be individual characteristics of an age-targeted community like the overall architecture, a certain house plan, the location of the community, or the price of the houses that makes you pick an age-targeted community over an age-restricted community. Because there will always be more communities that are not age-restricted than those that are, many other factors might point you away from an age-restricted community.

Some examples in Sussex County, Delaware of communities that could easily target mature adults are:

  • The Plantations, Lewes (Amenities, maintenance)
  • The Villages of Five Points, Lewes (Amenities, maintenance, proximity to town, floor plans)
  • Heritage Creek, Milton (Amenities, maintenance, proximity to town, floor plans)
  • Sawgrass, Rehoboth Beach (Amenities, maintenance, proximity to golf, floor plans)
  • Nassau Grove, Lewes (Amenities, maintenance, floor plans)

There are and will be countless more. Check the web site for a list of similar communities.

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