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55+ Housing Market Confidence Is Breaking Records

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By John Voket

senior_couple_new_home_modelThe nationwide financial and economic challenges in recent years have upended millions of consumers’ retirement plans, and dreams of transitioning into a new or smaller dwellings to age in place.

So the recent news from the National Association of Home Builders was well received. Builder confidence in the 55+ housing market continued to show improvement in the third quarter of 2013, representing the highest third-quarter number since the inception of the NAHB’s 55+ Housing Market Index (HMI).

The report indicated that all segments, from single-family homes, to condominiums and multi-family rentals, registered strong increases. While this news is targeted at builders, the confidence factor bodes well for a jump start to 55+ housing developments and planned communities across the country.

Robert Karen, chairman of NAHB’s 50+ Housing Council and managing member of the Symphony Development Group said NAHB members are seeing steady improvement in the 55+ housing sector as buyers and renters are attracted to new homes and communities that offer the lifestyle they desire.

NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe added that like in other segments of the industry, the 55+ market is improving in part because consumers are more likely to be able to sell their current homes, which allows them to buy a new home or move into an apartment that suits their specific needs.

In related news, the NAHB’s, “What Home Buyers Really Want” study recently surveyed home buyers asking them to choose three top characteristics from a top-10 list that would most best suits their home purchase decision.

For 65 percent, “living space and number of rooms to meet your needs” ranks as the most influential characteristic, followed at a distance by “energy-efficient features” at 39 percent.

The study also concluded that 83 percent of homebuyers believe contractors with specialized designations are “more professional and credible;” 78 percent believe they “provide better quality work and craftsmanship;” and three out of four say they “provide better service levels” and are “more reliable.” Finally, the survey found 64 percent of buyers agree specialized contractors are “worth paying a higher price for.”

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