April 2014 Newsletter

Jeff Fleming headshot 2012

Greetings!  Here at the American Association of Retirement Communities, we recognize the potential of retiree recruitment as a non-traditional economic development program.  The Census Bureau recently reported there are 43.1 million people over 65 in the United States.

That’s more than twice the entire population of Florida!  This population group will grow to 92 million – or more then 4x the population of Florida — by 2060.  So this trend isn’t going away any time soon!   58% of the nation’s 65+ population are married, 26% are widowed, 80.7% own their homes, 71.9% vote, 61.8% have a computer and 45.5% use internet.

I often say you don’t have to appeal to every retiree, only your fair share.  So what are you waiting for?  Learn how to become an AARC Seal of Approval community and market yourself to this crucial piece of the economic pie.


Jeff Fleming, Chair

The Members NewsAARC Helps Spread The Good News – Let us help you share!

The American Association of Retirement Communities is always looking for content to highltigh our members’ success.  Recently launched under the News tab we are happy to publish stories highlighting our members.

View the initial stories at Member’s News – Click to view

Forward your news stories and Press Releases to info@the-AARC.org

Pending Home Sales Rise For First Time In Nine Months


 A gauge of pending home sales rose 3.4% in March – the first gain inStory Photo nine months – signaling that sales of existing homes may pick up, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday. The index of pending home sales hit 97.4 in March — the highest reading since November — compared with 94.2 in February. “After a dismal winter, more buyers got an opportunity to look at homes last month and are beginning to make contract offers,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, in a statement. Despite March’s gain, the gauge was down 7.9% from a year earlier. Low inventory, declining affordability and poor weather have hit the housing market in recent months.

By region, March’s gauge of pending home sales rose 5.7% in the West, 5.6% in the South and 1.4% in the Northeast. Meanwhile, the gauge declined 0.8% in the Midwest. Starting off with a weak first quarter, 2014’s sales of existing homes will likely reach about 4.9 million, falling short of 5.1 million sales last year, according to NAR’s forecast.

Pending sales typically close within two months. An index reading of 100 equals 2001’s average contract activity level.

BOOMERS PIONEER NEW RETIREMENT HOUSING TRENDS                                                        


The Fiscal Times

March 27, 2014

April Newsletter 1Richard Hayman recently spent $120,000 and five-months remodeling his home in Potomac, Maryland. The project wasn’t about increasing the home’s aesthetic appeal or future resale value. Rather, the goal was to ensure Hayman and his wife could live
comfortably in their house throughout retirement.

The 68-year-old and his wife, Carolyn, turned their original kitchen into a den that could someday accommodate a hospital bed; they also added a full bathroom to their first floor.

The couple wants to stay near their three children, seven grandchildren and lifelong friends. After crunching the numbers, Hayman believes the renovations were the least expensive way to meet those goals and still allow for a few weeks’ vacation now and then.

Plus, the couple really loves their home. “They will carry us out of here, feet first,” Carolyn often proclaims.

The Haymans are hardly the only boomers to redefine retirement and to make moves now so they have control over how they live out a twilight that may span 30 years or more. They’re deciding what lifestyle they want and making changes to get it in a much more decisive way than their parents did.

The sheer number of boomers who are starting to think about their housing options in retirement is driving changes in the real estate and renovation market. The youngest of the 76 million boomers have begun turning 50 this year – and 10,000 boomers a day will turn 65 from now through 2030.

They’re not all looking for the same solutions, of course: While some want to stay put, others are ready for new experiences in their golden years. “It’s great that we have all these possibilities,” says David J. Ekerdt, director of the Gerontology Center and a sociology professor at the University of Kansas.

While some boomers still yearn for year-round sunshine, millions have no interest in the snowbird lifestyle or in moving too far from their longtime communities. “There’s still this misperception that older people will move to Florida or Arizona,” says Amy Levner, manager of livable communities for AARP.

More than 60 percent of baby boomers want their home in retirement to be in the state where they currently live, while a third want to live within 20 miles of their children or grandchildren, according to a 2012 study by Pulte Group.

Aging in Place – For many, the desire to age in place stems from the difficulty boomers have had in caring for their own elderly parents who lived far away. Such long-distance relationships have left many adult children feeling “stressed and powerless,” says Elaine Wethington, a sociology professor who directs the Translational Research on Aging Center at Cornell University. By remaining close to their own kids, boomers are hoping to make things easier as they age.

Nearly a quarter of remodelers surveyed last year were undertaking the work so that boomers could stay put, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The most popular projects included the addition of grab bars, higher toilets, and non-slip floors. “People are starting to plan ahead,” says Steve Melman, director of economic services for the NAHB.

While today’s boomers certainly act younger than their parents did at their age, they’re also keenly aware that they’re getting older. Many, like the Haymans, are turning to universal design, an architectural concept that involves creating and updating homes and businesses to make them accessible to older people.

It’s not only about traditional, institutional details like grab rails and ramps; it’s about more subtle design changes like door handles (instead of knobs), raised dishwashers, and lowered light switches and thermostats.

Downtown Living – Not everyone’s dream retirement concerns maintaining the family house. For many – especially those living in exurbs or isolated communities – it’s  about moving to an area that offers more social and recreational activities that will keep them active and engaged, which is key to a long and successful retirement.

One way to do that is to downsize into smaller apartments or condos in thriving cities that offer a vibrant cultural scene and easy access to activities and transportation. “The demand is beginning to be there,” says Sandra Timmerman, founder of the MetLife Mature Market Institute, adding that many in this generation aren’t interested in being “in the middle of nowhere,” nor do they want to be isolated in 55-plus housing, “ghettoized” with just their peers.

Moving into smaller living spaces helps boomers offset the increased cost of living that often accompanies a big-city residence.

Back to School – For those wanting to remain intellectually engaged and culturally active but who don’t want the hustle and bustle of city life, college towns have a growing allure. Retirees are increasingly enjoying such communities for their easy access to shopping, world-class health facilities, and opportunity for lifelong learning.

Larry Dunn, 64, and his wife, Arlene, 71, moved to a retirement community near Oberlin College in Ohio last fall from their home in rural Northwest Indiana. Before moving, the Dunns had to drive two hours to Chicago for cultural events. Now, they’re just a mile from campus and have enjoyed a concert by Yo-Yo Ma as well as operas and faculty recitals. They’re also taking advantage of the school’s academic offerings. Larry signed up for a class in music criticism, while Arlene is auditing a class on African American music. Larry Dunn said the cultural environment is personally enriching and draws a range of interesting people.

UGA Research Shows How Retirees Strengthen Georgia’s Economy                                                

UGA News Service

Athens Banner-Herald

April 22, 2014

The State of Georgia can bolster its economy by attracting more retirees, according to April Newsletter 2research from the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth.

The state’s warm weather, natural amenities and an inviting tax structure make Georgia an ideal place for retirees, who in return bring money, jobs and economic security, said Jeff Humphreys, director of the Selig Center.

“Demographic and economic trends are coming together to create an unprecedented opportunity in U.S. economic history for retiree-based economic development. The retirement of the baby boomers is a very strong demographic trend that is virtually locked in until approximately 2028,” he said. “A lot of leading-edge boomers who have been locked into their current homes by the housing bust are beginning to move as the ice thaws in the nation’s housing markets. That’s happening right now.”

In recent years, Georgia has attracted, on average, 16,000 retirees per year who have brought with them a net worth of $8 billion and created approximately 28,800 jobs.

For every 1.8 retirees who migrate to Georgia, one job is generated to cater to them. For every 100 retirees, 55 jobs are created. The jobs tend to be in hospitals, home construction, food and beverage services, doctor’s offices and real estate, but the multiplier effect ripples throughout the economy.

“Retirees make rural areas less vulnerable to the ups and downs of commodity markets and less exposed to global competition,” Humphreys said. “Relative to people with jobs, in-migrating retirees have steady incomes that are not dependent on local economic conditions. So retirees’ pension, investment and Social Security incomes can help cushion layoffs or reductions in hours worked.”

To find this data, Humphreys analyzed state and county-level data reported by the U.S. Census Bureau from 2007-2011. He found that most of Georgia’s retirees migrate from other states. Florida provides the most Georgia retirees, but New York is second, and many come from the upper Midwest.

“Georgia has a good balance of trade among the states when it comes to retiree migration. Our most efficient retiree migration exchanges are primarily with states in the Northeast and Midwest. The most favorable balances of trade in terms of migrating retirees’ incomes are with New York, Florida, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Michigan,” Humphreys said. “We need to focus on those states. On average, retirees who move here have lower incomes than retirees who leave the state. But Georgia still has an extremely favorable balance of trade when it comes to migrating retirees’ income.”

About the Selig Center    

Created to convey economic expertise to Georgia businesses and entrepreneurs, the Simon S. Selig, Jr. Center for Economic Growth is primarily responsible for conducting research on economic, demographic, and social issues related to Georgia’s current and future growth. The Selig Center also publishes the college’s annual “Georgia Economic Outlook” forecast and produces commissioned studies for the state and the private sector. For more information, see http://www.terry.uga.edu/about/centers-institutes/selig.