Breaking Down 55 or Older Communities

Age restrictive communities have been around for years. Some folks have just had their fill of kids and don’t want to share their community with children after 5pm. In general though, children are permitted in age restrictive communities but, there are rules that must be followed.

The below pool policy for visiting grandchildren was taken directly off the website of a large adults only community in the southeast. Go ahead and read it:

What are the rules for visiting grandchildren?
Children under the age of 19 may be a guest a maximum of 90 days in a calendar year. Children must be at least 4 years old and potty-trained to use any of the pools. Children ages 4-16 years of age are welcome at all pools during children’s hours only and must be accompanied by a supervising adult (non-guest). Pool monitors are present and may answer any questions or concerns.

At a glance this really sounds ok however; the whole premise is that kids up to 19 years old must be accompanied by adults in all pools and only during times where young ones are permitted to be in the pools. Well, so much for Grandma & Grandpa headed to the pool after dinner for a quick swim with the grandchildren!

Since it would be an exhaustive search to find the correct answer, my 12+ years of working with people who are looking at Southeastern NC to retire to provides me the luxury of making an educated guess on this question: What percentage of people retiring in the southeast retire in age restrictive communities? Answer: Less than 5%, or perhaps considerably less than that.

So just what is the draw to age restrictive communities? Noise for one is the #1 driving factor, and nuisance is a strong second. To each his own and who is anyone to judge if this is the lifestyle someone chooses, correct? Again, the percentage of adults moving into these types of communities is a fraction of the retiring public.

Everyone knows that Del Webb is a branded name synonymous with age restrictive communities

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so I found the age restrictive policies for Sun City Summerlin/Las Vegas:

55 Year Age Restriction Policy per
The FAIR HOUSING AMENDMENTS ACT of 1988 (the “Act”)
HOUSING FOR OLDER PERSONS ACT 1995: FINAL RULE
(Department of Housing and Urban Development: 24 CFR Part 100)

INTRODUCTION
The Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act) exempts “housing for older persons” from the Act’s prohibition against discrimination because of familial status. Section 807(b)(2) ( C ) of the Act exempts housing intended and operated for occupancy by persons 55 years of age or older which satisfies certain criteria HUD has adopted implementing regulations further defining the “housing for older persons” exemption at 24 CFR part 100, subpart E (Housing for Older Persons Act, hereinafter: HOPA).

There are 4 factors required for a facility to claim the 55 and older exemption:
(1) that the housing be intended and operated for persons age 55 and older; (24 CFR 100.304)
(2) that at least 80 percent of the occupied units be occupied by at least one person who is 55 years of age or older; (24 CFR 100.305)
(3) the housing facility or community must publish and adhere to policies and procedures that
demonstrate its intent to operate as housing for persons fifty-five (55) years of age or older. (24 CFR 100.306)
(4) the housing facility or community must also comply with rules issued by HUD for the
verification of occupancy. (24 CFR 100.307).

Sun City Summerlin is qualified for the exemption as a community for 55 year or older persons. The intent is stated in the Sun City Summerlin Community Association, Inc. CC&R’s (Article 4.2 (a)) and By-laws (Article 2.1) as well as by the age restriction rules adopted and enforced by the
Association. This document’s purpose… READ MORE

So does that mean that 95% of those retiring are living in communities without age restrictions? Yes, the answer is Yes however, there is an however. Since I know Brunswick County quite well, let’s do some exploring on how we have so many retirement communities here without any legal age restrictions yet, most everyone seems to be perfectly happy with the lack of policies.

There are over 20 Plantations in Brunswick County – and in case you are not aware of the marketing lingo by developers, a “plantation” is a community that has very nice amenities such as pools, tennis courts, golf course, fitness center, activities, etc. The draw to Brunswick County is weather, beaches and affordability – along with the myriad of plantations to select from.

Brunswick County historically has served various service industries, such as golf, beach, restaurants, hotels and general tourism. If you break that down, the overwhelming majority of workers in our area are hourly, and that means that their price range for a home hovers around $100,000 with both parents working (combined annual income would range from $30,000 – $50,000). We have a true absence of white collar jobs here, as there are virtually little to only a few “Class A” office buildings within the county.

The average single family home starting price in the 20+ plantations is over $200,000, and that knocks out an incredibly high percentage of young families. Therefore, since plantations are not economically feasible for so many young couples, the population of retirees dominates the landscape. And therefore the number of young children living inside these plantations is often almost zilch.

So, while we do not have official documents banning children from our public areas, streets, sidewalks and community amenities, we really don’t need them. Sure there might be a sprinkling of children in all plantations but it seems that the higher the price is of the average home, the less children you see.

As a general rule, our plantations here are grandchildren/children friendly plus, let’s unfortunately not forget about how many kids are moving back home and often with their children! And remember, you can only keep kids locked up in the house for so long! 🙂

Age restrictive communities have their place in the food chain of places to possibly retire to, so if you are averse to sharing your community with young ones, then you have some options up and down the east coast. WC Fields once said when asked “How do you like children”, to which he replied “Medium Rare, Medium Rare”. In Brunswick County, we welcome grandchildren yet we do always recommend to build your guest rooms to be comfortable BUT, not TOO comfortable! 🙂

55 and Over?

W.C. Fields

W.C. Fields, one of America’s best one liner treasures, had some rather tasty comments on children:

  1. Children should neither be seen or heard from – ever again
  2. I like children – if the are properly cooked
  3. They are also very good with mustard

At Carolina Plantations Real Estate, we often are asked if we have any 55 and older retirement communities along the Carolina Coast. To my knowledge we have zero on the North Carolina coast. I have heard there are one or two small 55+ communities in Myrtle Beach and Del Webb has a joint down in Hilton Head.  That is all I know of – officially that is.

55 And Older Living

The majority of 55+ communities appear to be in Arizona and Florida – which makes sense because traditionally, these two locations draw a mature audience. The Carolina’s on the other hand appear to be targeting a more youthful and active group of retirees. If you are in your 50’s and 60’s, many still have a whole lot of gas remaining in their tanks including rounds of golf in their bags, morning power walks in their new sneakers, games of tennis with their rackets, trips up the river in your kayaks and many, many more neighborhood parties to attend!

To best understand if Brunswick County has any 55+ communities, one really needs to do a quick study of the economy here along the Southeastern Coast of NC. When you drive south from the Cape Fear River and downtown Wilmington towards Little River, SC, you will not see the never ending array of huge Class A office building one finds in the suburbs of DC, Atlanta, NY, Chicago, Boston, Baltimore and so on. You will though see lots and lots of Loblolly Pine trees.

Brunswick County historically is a service oriented economy. Beach hotels, rentals, golf courses, restaurants and grocery stores dot our sparse landscape. Therefore, the average person in their 20’s & 30’s seeking employment here will more than likely max out at a salary of $35,000. So, even if you have two young adults working here full-time, the best they will bring home is $70,000.

The reason why this analogy is important is because with a combined (top) income in this range, purchasing a home and living in one of the many plantations in our area is less likely – which equates to less Big Wheels on the sidewalk and babies in the pool.  Therefore, our plantations here are predominantly filled with retirees. Of course it is not to say that there are not young children in some of the higher end golf plantations, but if there are, the yellow bus has a very quick route to follow.

Our neighborhoods here love children and we don’t insist that they be removed from sight after 5 PM. However, if you were a young couple with young children, would it make a lot of sense to move into a community with mostly retirees? The many plantations here in Brunswick County only have a handful of younger children living in them. Right, wrong, good, bad, we don’t have signs at the entrance to our communities that say children not welcome or tolerated at certain times of the day or night.

The one exception to this rule of thumb in our area is Landfall – which is arguably the premiere private golf course community in Southeastern North Carolina. Landfall is located on the east side of Wilmington and is within walking distance to Wrightsville Beach. Of the 1,600 homes already built in the gated community, there are numerous young professionals who have been rather busy, as the community boasts a population of over 700 children.

If you are in need of a community with strict rules governing children, your best bet is to stay on I-95 through the Tar Heel state and don’t stop till you see orange groves or cactus fields!!