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Utah Seniors Are Shifting Perspective

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Utah is a great place to live, work, and retire in.

For nearly twenty years, we’ve been watching the 55 and older demographic as it evolves. With a new generation of empty nesters approaching our demographic, it’s good to reflect on where we started and how things are changing.

To be sure, perspectives and expectations are changing. The last of the baby boomers are turning 55 next year, and many people have wondered what would happen to the industries built around this large portion of the population.

What 20 Years Has Done to the 55+ Housing Market

Managing expectations

Twenty years ago, there were companies building age restricted communities in Utah. In fact, this was a large industry in other parts of the country as well, long before we established ourselves as the leader in the Utah market.

But when we started, we took a different approach. We focus on what homebuyers in that age group were looking for. We quickly realized that it’s the lifestyle that they want when they come looking in one of our communities.

We were also selling people who were alive during the Depression and World War II, but most of them were a little young to have participated in it, at least, not until the very end.

These groups liked the idea of security, comfort, and a sense of the familiar. At that time, they 80 our communities because they offered all those things. Many were still used to unattached style homes, but they loved the security that living in a senior community offered.

This was also a great place to socialize and make friends, staving off the loneliness that could often follow the loss of a partner.

At the time, we were also able to build and sell homes at smaller costs. With frugality being a concern, these senior communities were priced right and offered a lot.

Fast forward to today:

We still sell a few homes to people of that earlier generation, though not as much as we used to. We’re seeing more people coming in, looking for a 55+ community who are of the Baby Boomer generation. These folks have different expectations compared to their parents.

While they still value the things we discussed, they lived through more optimistic times. On average, they’ve made more money and become accustomed to a higher standard of living. Thus they are expecting high quality homes with a sense of luxury.

Given that Utah’s buildable real estate is shrinking, the cost of land is rising.

Whether the expectation here for high quality and more expensive finishes is a factor of homebuyer’s age, or a factor of the higher cost of land, suggesting a not-so-basic styled home, we’ve found over the years that we’ve had to increasingly add extra features.

Biggest difference

The more we build 55+ communities, the more we evolve to match the prevailing expectations of our customers. We’ve traditionally built our communities with attached homes, usually in a fourplex. Most of our homes don’t look like a traditional 4-plex or townhome though. Our copyrighted plans are unique, in that they give you more of that single-family home feel, while providing the type of lifestyle that we’re known so well for.

As newer generations approach, the bias against attached housing seems to be disappearing. In Utah, there is a rising demand for luxury attached homes like ours. I’ve often heard people suggest that services like ours, that predominantly service the he baby boomers, will suffer after their passing.

While the name suggests a boom or bubble, there will not be a bust to follow. After all, the baby boomers had kids too. Combine this, with longer lifespans, and growing communities, we see a long and healthy market for exclusive housing, marketed towards folks 55 and better.

Leisure Villas is Utah’s leader in building age restricted communities. While other builders have dabbled in this market, this is all we build. If you would like to learn more, please stop by one of our communities or call us. We’ll be more than happy to show you why more Utahans are choosing to live in our 55+ Villas.

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