Sun Sentinel Reprint

Boomers impacting communities' demographics

By Marci Shatzman

Sun Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Oct. 11--Jeffrey Katz has been selling real estate for seven years to house hunters in the adult communities, and in the past two years he's noticed something new.

"Boomers are focused on how old the community is," said Katz, who's with RE/MAX Advantage in western Boynton Beach.

They think a new community will attract younger seniors.

"They want to be among their contemporaries and not their parents' generation," he said.

Katz said 90 percent of his clients are Baby Boomers who are moving here to retire or buy a second home. They find him when they Google 55+ communities, and they do their homework, so they know all about the adult day camp lifestyle with clubs and activities planned for them.

"I don't have to educate them," he said. "It's really about the clubhouse."

He keeps in touch with his clients and thinks they're assimilating well.

"The larger baby-boom bubble is now age 47 to 62 years. This group is anticipated to have a significant impact on county demographics in 10 to 20 years, as Boomers from other areas retire to Florida," according to the demographic forecasts on the Palm Beach County website.

The county verifies what Katz is finding -- that new construction is starting to trump re-sales.

"In 2007 to date, re-sales of homes have been a more important factor in the market. Inventories are beginning to ease. Some large developers have cut prices on new homes to spur sales," according to the county website.

GL Homes has two of the newest adult communities, Valencia Pointe, which is almost built out, and Valencia Reserve, which is under construction. The developer is still finding a wide age range of lookers and buyers.

"We have a lot of different ages coming onto our sales floor," said Glen Calder, a company spokesman.

He said the activities GL communities offers -- from tennis to exercise classes and card rooms -- are meant to appeal to "a good mix of ages."

But how to handle the generation gap as their residents skew younger and how to attract those buyers is a continuing challenge for the adult communities vying for re-sales.

"Through attrition, we're getting a nice group of younger people who want to do things," said Norma Gluck, head of a committee formed to publicize Coral Lakes, a sprawling development in western Boynton Beach. "We have very few homes and condos for sale."

Their new residents are in their late 50s to mid-60s and assimilating well with older residents, she said.

"Age is not an issue here," Gluck said.

But whether living in a senior community ultimately will appeal to Boomers remains to be seen. So far, so good. Only one of Katz's clients has moved out of an adult community so far. The rest are "extremely satisfied," he said.

Next week: How Boomers are getting along with their older neighbors.

Marci Shatzman writes about the adult communities in western Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach and Lake Worth. You can reach her at [email protected].

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission. Further distribution of this material strictly prohibited without additional permission. 

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