The Villages, a planned community located in Central Florida made up entirely of seniors, was the fastest-growing metropolitan area over the past 10 years in the United States. This is according to census data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on August 12, as reported by the New York Times.
“About a 45-minute drive from Orlando, the area’s population jumped 39% since 2010 — from about 93,000 residents to about 130,000, the Times reporting explains. “The growth was fueled in large part by a steady stream of retirees lured by Florida’s year-round balmy weather, beaches and endless golfing. The community, a collection of homes and villages, has made the fastest-growing list of metropolitan cities for several decades.”
The growth in the community contributed both to the gain in Florida’s overall state population, as well as its gaining of both a seat in the U.S. Congress and an Electoral College vote in presidential elections.
“The Villages stretches across three counties but is mostly in Sumter County,” the reporting says. “It includes three ZIP codes, along with multiple town squares, movie theaters, grocery stores and libraries.”
Communities which cater to the over-55 age demographic have been seen by some in the reverse mortgage industry as a potentially major source of additional business, however communities like these haven’t been easy for the industry to establish itself in. This has been evidenced in the past by barriers at Sun City in Arizona, or even property incidents at The Villages itself.
The state of Florida continues to be a very popular retirement location, particularly because of its climate, tax structure and wide variety of senior living communities. Area reverse mortgage originators have specifically looked at the prevalence of active senior communities as a potential avenue to generate business using the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) for Purchase (H4P) program, according to some previous outreach conducted by RMD.
At RMD’s Fall 2020 virtual event HEQ: The Future of Home Equity in Retirement, Bill Ness — founder of active adult community resource 55places.com — told an assembled audience of reverse mortgage professionals some of the things they should keep in mind about seniors who look to live in communities such as The Villages.
“Oftentimes, residents of a particular neighborhood, if they lived there for 30 or 40 years, will come to realize that they no longer fit in and there’s a younger demographic that’s taking back over,” Ness said at the event. “So, they’ve lost that social connection that they probably once had when they first moved into that community. Moving into an active adult community, they want to regain that connection and that opportunity to socialize, and to meet new friends who share similar interests. The nature of an active adult community is you fall into that.”
The housing market in The Villages was recently profiled on HousingWire, which explained that “selling and buying in The Villages tends to be a highly emotional process, according to local real estate agents.”
Read the story about The Villages’ population increase at the New York Times.