By Susan Elise Campbell
The 50-plus demographic looking to make their next move in housing is seeking specific amenities and they are willing to wait for and pay for what they want, accoding to those in the industry.
“I work with many at different stages of the 50-plus demographic and they are an active group,” said Cindy Quade, broker and owner with Signature One Realty Group in Malta.
“They are looking to scale back on the size of their next home, but not the amenities,” Quade said. “Some don’t mind even larger parcels as long as there is minimal maintenance to them.”
A single-family home that is maintenance free, and ideally on one level, is the market that her clients are looking for but that is under-served, according to Quade
At The Glen at Highland Meadows, there is typically a waitlist for the independent living arrangements that Eddy Senior Living offers, said Andrea Hebert, executive director of the Queensbury facility.
“The particular size, location or layout of the apartment or cottage they like may not be available when they apply,” said Hebert.
But prospective residents can transition into that retirement community early by joining The Stoddard Club, by which Hebert said applicants can come for dinner and participate in social activities before they move in.
Said, Quade, “New construction is designed for the traditional growing family, and seniors do want new construction,” she said. “At the same time, they do not want to sacrifice one-level living and low maintenance, which is more important to them than square footage.”
“As far as amenities, they want granite countertops, fireplaces, hardwood floors and a neighborhood,” she said. “There are some unique neighborhoods in Ballston Spa with a community, clubhouse and pool, but it is difficult to get it all.”
A typical neighborhood today has one acre to one-and-a-half-acre lots, which can appeal to an empty nester, she said
At The Highland, any individuals are taking more time and waiting longer to downsize or enter independent living, a trend that Hebert said is not local but national.
“The population of seniors has increased as baby boomers continually age,” she said. “But people are also healthier longer and more wellness-focused in general, even working longer. This is why we are building a new wellness center and pool, to focus on keeping our residents healthy and independent as long a possible.”
Now in its 20th year, The Glen markets its services to seniors who are researching and making a decision about their next residence.
Hebert said decisions have been driven more and more by their adult children.
She said some residents lived and worked in the Glens Falls area all their lives, some had long vacationed at nearby Lake George, and some have relocated to be closer to their children and their families.
“Our seniors want to have their children on board and agreeing on what is the best option,” she said.
Leaving a financial legacy may factor in. The Glen at Highland Meadows is an entrance fee-based community with a spectrum of rental options.
“Typically the fee is paid by the resident selling their home, all or part of which is refundable when leaving the community and depending on the pricing option selected,” Hebert said. “The return of the entrance fee can contribute to their legacy.”
Land is at a premium in this part of the country and prices are driven in part by low supply, Quade said her senior clients are willing to pay for the upgrades of new construction now rather than remodel and pay later.
“Most don’t want the hassle of renovating, they just want everything new,” she said. “But no matter the budget, it’s about compromise, and seniors are smart about shopping and pursuing what matters the most for them.”
While some shoppers may be more cost conscious, all want and need something in fairly low supply. According to Quade, depending on where seniors are in the process of their next move, they may be willing to cut back on just about any amenity except maintenance.
“They would rather have now what they want in a beautiful home for the future time when the property and the stairs become problematic,” she said. “It is a tough market for buyers because of the supply and for builders because of the cost.”
“Each year it becomes a more pressing situation for seniors to find the place where they can free themselves up,” she said. “They have an active lifestyle, they love to travel, but they want to scale back time spent on upkeep in favor of other activities.”
“The residents at The Glen enjoy their active lifestyle and when they travel, it gives them comfort to know their home is looked after 24/7,” said Hebert.
“All the upkeep is taken care of, including clearing snow off their cars and walkways, and checking in on their rooms or cottage,” she said. “Active seniors and healthy aging are the new buzzwords, but they reflect our mission at The Glen to keep our residents safe and continue being independent members of the aging community.”