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Survey Says: Boomers and Seniors Would Choose Oprah over ‘The Donald’ as their Real Estate Agent

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RISMEDIA, August 23, 2007—Donald Trump may have some competition on his hands if the 50-plus set has anything to say about it. According to a recent survey by ERA Real Estate, 29% of consumers aged 50 and older would choose talk show host Oprah Winfrey as their celebrity real estate agent over the real estate mogul. A preference for Oprah is just one of the insights revealed today by ERA Real Estate as part of its annual home ownership survey of adults aged 50-plus nationwide.

The telephone surveys of more than 1,000 men and women provided insights into the real estate habits of baby boomers and seniors as they shared their views on the housing market, plans to move in the future, as well as their home buying and selling preferences. This is the fourth year ERA Real Estate has surveyed the 50-plus demographic.

One out of five survey respondents plan to move in the next five years and family emerged as one of the clearest priorities for respondents when considering real estate options. Three out of four say it is important to be near their family when considering their next move. Further, when considering buying a new home, 43% would purchase a home to be closer to work or family – up 10% from last year’s survey results. For those considering an active adult community, family and friends should be nearby for 70% of those surveyed. For those in the market for a second or vacation home, nearly half (45%) would buy such a property for other family members.

There’s No Place Like Home

Respondents were clear in their visions for where they want to live – and single family homes won out over active adult communities. Of the one in five thinking about moving in the next five years, 65% would most consider a single family home, which supports a recent report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University indicating few baby boomers will be looking to downsize. In fact, about one-quarter (24%) of survey respondents said the reason they would buy a new home would be to
upsize compared with 15% last year. Of those who own single family homes, only 11% would consider purchasing a condo, townhouse or apartment.

Active adult communities are becoming more attractive – only 2% were considering such a home last year compared with 6% this year. Further, men are three times more as likely to consider a move to an active adult community as women – perhaps for the on-site golf courses many feature.

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

But who would their ideal neighbor be? When polled about the U.S. Presidential candidate they would most like to live next door to, the results provided some insights into the wide open U.S. Presidential race. At 21%, Democratic contender U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton led the pack. Coming in at a relatively close second was Republican candidate Fred Thompson (13%), closely followed by Democratic hopefuls John Edwards and U.S. Senator Barak Obama (12%). Trailing in this poll were former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (10%), Senator John McCain (8%) and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (6%).

The celebrity set fared better as potential neighbors. Champion golfer Tiger Woods is the celebrity that boomers and seniors think would make the best neighbor (24%). Perhaps preferring not to be awakened by the cries of Woods’ new daughter, others selected TV talk show hosts Regis Philbin and Ellen DeGeneres (15 and 14%, respectively), followed by actress Teri Hatcher of “Desperate Housewives” (8%). It seems that mobsters – or even those who only play one on TV – may never make good neighbors: “Sopranos” star James Gandolfini came in dead last for the second year.

Room for Improvement

Although 55% of 50-plus respondents say they currently have their dream home, there is room for improvement for those who don’t. A designer kitchen or outdoor deck/entertainment area are the two most desired luxury enhancements respondents’ dream homes would feature (76 and 75%, respectively). Other dream extras would include pristine landscape (71%), indoor sauna or hot tub (53%) or a home theater (46%). Not as dreamy is an Olympic-sized swimming pool (32%) and
only 13% would desire to have a home on a golf course.

“With more than 77 million baby boomers approaching retirement, it is critical that we provide valuable real estate information that is going to help them successfully prepare for retirement, while at the same time, capture their thoughts on the current real estate market,” said Brenda W. Casserly, president and chief executive officer for ERA Franchise Systems LLC. “As one of America’s leading real estate companies, it is our responsibility to know our consumer, and more importantly, respond to their needs with products and services that will enhance their experience with ERA.”

The survey represents the latest in ongoing series of initiatives by ERA Real Estate to monitor and address the concerns of the growing mature consumer market. These efforts include customized and personalized marketing approaches that meet the needs of mature consumers, as well as a variety of targeted services, resources and financial options. As the first global real estate franchise to deliver the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRESR) designation to its affiliates online, the ERA system is also committed to educating its sales professionals about the specific needs and concerns of mature buyers and sellers.
 
Survey Methodology

This report presents the findings of national telephone studies conducted during March 2007 and August 2007 by Opinion Research Corporation among a sample of 1,002 Americans aged 50 and older. Copies of the surveys are available to the media upon request. 

For more information, visit  http://www.era.com/.

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