Of the roughly 990,000 single-family and 389,000 multifamily homes started in 2020, 46,000 (28,000 single-family and 18,000 multifamily) were built in age-restricted communities, according to NAHB tabulation of data from the Survey of Construction (SOC, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau and partially funded by HUD). A residential community can be legally age-restricted, provided it conforms the one of the set of rules specified in the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995.
NAHB was first successful in persuading HUD and the Census Bureau to produce data on the age-restricted status of new homes in 2009, during the depths of the housing downturn. In 2009r, builders started only 17,000 homes in age-restricted communities (9,000 single-family and 8,000 multifamily). The numbers subsequently increased, reaching a peak of 29,000 single-family and 31,000 multifamily age-restricted starts in 2018. Both series declined by several thousand in 2019. The 28,000 age-restricted single-family homes started in 2020 represents a substantial rebound from the 2019 dip, while the 18,000 age-restricted multifamily homes started is a further decline.
The SOC also provides some data on the basic characteristics of age-restricted and other single-family homes started. in 2020, the median age-restricted home was the same size as the median home not age-restricted—2,300 square feet. The median lot size for age-restricted homes, however, was somewhat smaller—roughly one-sixth of an acre vs. one-fifth (see the July 21 post for more information on lot sizes). Despite that, the age-restricted homes built for sale are slightly pricier (median sale price of $371,000 vs. $336,000). As a result, per square foot was $123 for age-restricted, and $112 for other, single-family homes built for sale and started in 2020.
Other questions in the SOC show that new single-family homes are more likely to be attached (i.e., townhomes), and single story with no basement if the homes are age-restricted. The age-restricted homes are also more likely to come with patios, but less likely to have decks. Finally, age-restricted homes are less likely to require a loan and more likely to be purchased for cash, as home buyers who are older have had more of a chance to accumulate the savings and assets (often equity in a previous home) that can be converted to cash.