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Angie's Baby Boomer Blog

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Charlotte Active Adult and 55 plus Communities

Some Baby Boomers, now entering their 50's consider the purchase of a home at an Active Adult Community, where it takes only one person per household, aged 55 or older, to qualify to live at these a resort-style neighborhoods. Already having experienced "empty nest" syndrome, hundreds of builders across the nation are targeting marketing campaigns towards to live the cruise-ship lifestyle at their newly created "active adult" communities.

The most notable reason for the emergence of so many 55-plus Active Communities is the much-touted "Graying of America". Baby Boomers are the largest-ever single age group to hit the demographic charts in many years and this group tends to be more active, healthier, wealthier and more educated than any previous generation. More and more Boomers are choosing an "early out" or semi-retirement opportunity, compared to those in previous generations who marked time for social security and retirement income.

Under Federal Fair Housing laws, these resort-style communities, restricted to those 55 or older, are permitted to be built only if the developer can furnish facilities and services targeted for that population, with the designation of at least one person per household of that age or older. Until recently, the only geographic areas to offer retirement communities attractive enough to relocate for were located in Arizona and Florida, the Sun Belt regions of the U.S. Now in North Carolina, Charlotte is on the list of the most popular places for retirement starting with the recent grand opening of Del Webb Sun City Carolina Lakes and other Active Adult communities to follow.

Builders have recognized that these adult communities, whether on a small scale or built into large golf course-oriented master planned resort areas, flourish near larger metropolitan areas. Needless to say, communities like these are literally popping up everywhere in the North Carolina. Greater Charlotte has indeed much to offer: The Symphony, Concerts, Theater Plays, Sports, Shopping and Restaurants, NASCAR and Non-stop flights to National and International destinations.

Active adult community builders try to gear everything they can; the design of their communities, the location of them, the activities offered, and, of course, the homes themselves. That is a more formidable task than one would think. Baby Boomers want a small-town atmosphere, but don't want to be far from the action and larger metropolitan areas. Their friends have now become almost as important as their families, so a social structure is extremely important. Mature Adults are coming together to enjoy a lifestyle free of tricycles and baby strollers on their sidewalks, but aren't beyond forming Harley-Davidson clubs and improving their tennis games.

Another phenomenon is the amount of money mature adults will spend on amenities in active adult communities. Now is the time they may feel secure financially enough to order those gleaming polished granite kitchen countertops, top-grade carpeting and "surround sound" entertainment systems. I think this population is the fastest growing computer-literate group and require high-tech wiring in their homes. Indeed, "tech centers" with high speed modems and structured wiring are a common request in the active adult home. Requested is more natural light, using transoms and skylights, front and back covered patio and porch areas, and the creation of intimate entertaining space, both indoors and out. These are a few of the options not easily found in traditional new home designs. With a focus on the abundance of well-earned free time, the 55-plus set may now have the luxury of entertaining friends and family, making options such as these even more attractive. The "Great room" concepts are especially popular, with the elimination of the underused formal living room area. A formal dining room is still incorporated into the list of popular floor plan designs, however, used for increasingly cherished family holidays.

For those of us in our forties and early fifties, the thought of living within what used to be considered a "retirement" community" may still send thoughts of denial up and down our spines. The truth is, now the average newcomer is in their late fifties and early sixties, with the trend getting younger every year. Why would such "young folk" choose these neighborhoods? Some want all the amenities a resort has to offer, others just want to have fun and enjoy the spoils of their labors on the golf course, lounging around the pool, getting together with people at the same blissful stage in life, or do some traveling around the world. Read more on Angie's Active Adult and 55 plus Communities website www.Carolina55andbetter.com

Published Monday, November 27, 2006 8:39 PM by Angie Adams NC/SC REALTOR® Broker


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