Tiffani and Jaden, please join Bernice, Myrtle, and Hazel for Mah-Jong at noon!
WSJ: At “active adult” developments across the U.S., residents are debating whether to scrap the age restrictions that have helped define their way of life for almost five decades. Proponents of “age desegregation,” as it’s known in the industry, say opening the doors to people under 55 is the only way their once-idyllic enclaves can stay afloat amid a worsening economic climate.
From Florida to Arizona, condos are sitting idle as potential buyers find themselves stuck, unable to sell their houses and relocate. Residents of one New Jersey 55-plus development are living next to open foundations, with only 32 of 175 planned homes sold. And with retirement accounts hammered by the investment markets’ plunge, people living in these communities are falling behind on homeowners’ dues and scaling back on clubhouse activities.
…Many of these communities had already been struggling with declining sales as ageing baby boomers either postpone retirement or opt to retire elsewhere. Last year, about 1.1 million households could be found in active-adult settings, down from 1.8 million in 2001, according to the National Association of Home Builders. And in a recent survey by AARP, the membership group for older Americans, almost nine in 10 people said they don’t want to move at all in retirement; instead, they want to “age in place.”
…But desegregation is nonetheless a hard sell among some residents of these developments, who say the change would ruin the dream they bought into in the first place. An influx of younger residents could also affect relations with surrounding neighborhoods. Municipalities have long favoured developments for retirees because they don’t require additional services like schools.
Admit it, all those activities sound kind of fun.
…the community has drawn people like Tom Butler, 48, a kitchen designer, and his wife, Jill, who is 53. The place popped up on their radar a year ago, when Ms. Butler visited her daughter-in-law’s grandparents, who live in the community. She says she was “totally charmed by it,” and drawn to the “plethora of activities.” This fall, the couple bought one of Sun City Grand’s “Casita” models, a ranch-style home with a pool and a guest house. “Sometimes, people look at us and say, ‘You’re not old enough to be here,’ ” says Ms. Butler. “But we take it as a compliment.”
Image from The Arizona Republia via The Wall Street Journal.