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Over-55 housing boom

By Judy Martel ·
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Posted: 8 am ET

Homebuyers and renters older than age 55 represent a fast-growing segment of the housing market, particularly those buying single-family homes and condos. According to the National Association of Home Builders 55+ Housing Market Index, builder confidence has improved significantly in the third quarter of this year compared to third-quarter 2012.

Both the multifamily condo and single-family home index registered the highest third-quarter increase since the index began in 2008. Confidence also increased in the index for multifamily rentals.

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"Buyers and renters are attracted to new homes and communities that offer the lifestyle they desire," Robert Karen, chairman of NAHB's 50+ Housing Council, said in a statement.

Feeling more confident, kinda

Builder confidence is measured through a survey that asks builders to rate current sales, prospective buyer traffic and anticipated sales over the next six months. The index sets 50 as the dividing line between positive and negative builder sentiment.

Both the index for single-family homes and for multifamily condos improved 14 points from a year ago. But despite the increases, the single-family home index came in at 53, while the condo index was 37, so there's room to grow, Karen noted.

They buy because they can sell

The NAHB's chief economist, David Crowe, said that part of the gain in homebuyer interest and activity in the over-55 market is due to the fact that the housing market overall is improving. "Consumers are more likely to be able to sell their current homes, which allows them to buy a new home or move into an apartment that suits their specific needs."

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