NAHB: Seniors’ Home Must-Haves Count Space, Low Maintenance

About 20% of seniors aged 65 and older have plans to buy a new home, and they have some strong preferences for what they’d want in that home.

A recent National Association of Home Builders survey that reveals a desire for adequate space and ease of maintenance. 

The What Home Buyers Really Want survey was undertaken by the NAHB Economics and Housing Policy Group in 2012 using a consumer research panel maintained by the NAHB Research Center.

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Nearly three-quarters of seniors (those born in 1945 or earlier) are currently living in a  single-family detached home, and 62% would like to buy another such home, the NAHB found. A majority of this age demographic (69%) prefer a single-story home, compared to a 57% single-story dwelling across all age groups. 

While 32% of those 65 and older reported no plans to purchase a home, the next-highest portion, at 20%, said they had plans to buy a home—whether a single-family detached or townhome attached, multi-family apartment, mobile home, or “other”—in the next one to three years.

While half or more of Gen Y and Gen X buyers would choose a bigger house with fewer amenities, nearly three-quarters of seniors would choose a smaller house with high quality products and amenities for the same price.

An example of certain amenities that can be included in home design are bathroom aids—such as installing grab bars or seating in showers— which are either “desirable” or “essential” in a new home to 63% of seniors.

Size still matters, too, as nearly half of senior respondents (48%) said they’d like a new home to range between 1,600 and 2,499 square feet—not hugely different from current proportions living in homes of that size.

Indeed, adequate living space and number of rooms to meet needs is the number one characteristic that would most influence seniors to purchase a new home (59%), followed by ease of maintenance (42%) and energy efficient features (45%).

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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