New Survey Data Looks at Both Older and Younger 55+ Buyers

A survey of consumers and builders, conducted in 2009 by the National Association of Home Builders and the MetLife Mature Market Institute, has yielded a new round of data specific to the housing preferences of the 55+ consumer.  This analysis of data—the third in a series—compared the preferences of the 55-to-64 year old age group to those of the 65+ group.

One of the surprises revealed in that data is the similarity in preferences between the two groups, with the exception of the following: 1) The younger group showed more interest in technology-heavy features, 2) The older group expressed a stronger preference for a single-story floor plan or one with a first-floor master bedroom and a variety of universal design features, and 3) There were differences in the area of home services and community services they currently have available.

One striking difference, according to John Migliaccio, director of research at MetLife's Mature Market Institute, related to home services and community services.

"Very telling," said Migliaccio, "is that the younger group of mature consumers reported enthusiastically that they want services like home maintenance and repair as part of their next home purchase, along with services usually connected to older householders, such as housekeeping, onsite health care and transportation."

According to Migliaccio, all of the aforementioned were ranked higher than the desire for social activities by this group—a surprise inasmuch as social activities and amenities have been thought to be valued quite highly by this group.  This finding, he said, supports an emerging trend among builders to look for ways to partner with providers of such services to the residents of their active adult/lifestyle communities.

According to Mike McGowan, a 50+ builder from Binghamton, New York and chair of NAHB's 50+ Housing Council, "Most buyers in this market are looking for an easy-living lifestyle. They would like easy access to services that will free up their time from maintenance both inside and outside their homes.  This data tells builders that the homes they build for older active adults will remain attractive to the consumers who will be entering that market for the foreseeable future."

Paul Emrath, NAHB's vice president for survey and housing policy research, pointed out that the share of households that will want such housing is large and growing larger as Baby Boomers age into that segment of the market.  He cautioned that the current financial situation has led to sharply decreased construction of communities that serve the mature market. Without a change in the availability of capital for development and construction, there could well be a shortage of such housing when it is most needed.

To view the report, "55+ Housing: Builders, Buyers and Beyond," visit

About NAHB: The National Association of Home Builders is a Washington-based trade association representing more than 200,000 members involved in home building, remodeling, multifamily construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction.  Known as "the voice of the housing industry," NAHB is affiliated with more than 800 state and local home builders associations around the country.

The MetLife Mature Market Institute®
Established in 1997, the Mature Market Institute (MMI) is MetLife’s research organization and a recognized thought leader on the multi-dimensional and multi-generational issues of aging and longevity.  MMI’s groundbreaking research, gerontology expertise, national partnerships, and educational materials work to expand the knowledge and choices for those in, approaching, or caring for those in the mature market.

MMI supports MetLife's long-standing commitment to identifying emerging issues and innovative solutions for the challenges of life.  MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), through its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading provider of insurance, employee benefits and financial services with operations throughout the United States and the Latin American, Europe and Asia Pacific regions.

For more information about the MMI, please visit:


Ann Marie Moriarty
DJC Communications
Debra Caruso
Joseph Madden