What’s the Difference Between Age-Targeted and Age-Restricted Communities?

Two multi-racial senior woman, one Caucasian and the other African American, taking a walk in a residential neighborhood on a bright, sunny summer or spring day. They are enjoying each other’s company, smiling, face to face, talking.

You can live in an active adult community that restricts the age of who can live there or you can choose an active adult community that is open to a diverse range of ages.

As you begin your search for the right active adult community for your needs, you’ll likely come across the terms “age restricted” and “age targeted.”

So, what do these terms mean — and how do they affect your search for your new home?

This article explains the similarities, differences and everything else you should know about age-restricted communities and age-targeted communities.

Similarities of Age-Restricted and Age-Targeted Communities

Age-restricted and age-targeted communities are similar in that the demographic they are both after are older adults. “Both types of communities aim to cater to active adult lifestyles,” says Brent Bayes, director of Sales & Marketing at Asbury Methodist Village, a continuing care retirement community in Montgomery County, Md.

Bayes says these types of communities will offer amenities and activities that will appeal to older adults, such as home or lawn maintenance.

Differences Between Age-Restricted and Age-Targeted Communities

“The main difference between an age-restricted community and an age-targeted community is the age restriction that dictates who can live in the age-restricted community,” Bayes says. “In an age-targeted community, there’s no age restriction, but the community will offer amenities that appeal to the active adult lifestyle.”

People are often confused by the two types of communities because of housing laws. Bayes points out that age-restricted communities are allowable under the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995 (because who needs to yell at kids to get off their lawn); however, age-targeted communities must accept all ages in their communities.

“Age-targeted communities have to take everybody; whereas age-restricted communities can get around that law by restricting age,” he says.

The main difference between an age-restricted community and an age-targeted community is the age restriction that dictates who can live in the age-restricted community. In an age-targeted community, there’s no age restriction, but the community will offer amenities that appeal to the active adult lifestyle. — Brent Bayes, director of Sales & Marketing at Asbury Methodist Village While there are age restrictions in age-restricted communities, they do vary from community to community. So, one age-restricted community may allow those who are 55 years old and older to live in the community, while another age-restricted community has an age-restriction of 62 years old and older.

“There’s not an absolute there,” Bayes says.

While 80 percent of an age-restricted community must be older than the age restriction, that doesn’t mean you’ll find retirees and boomers in the community. Some communities will allow a spouse who is younger than the age limit to reside there, while others do not.

And, children and grandchildren can visit too. “Two weeks is about the longest I’ve seen allowed,” Bayes says. Children can visit, but it is restricted. I think that’s why this type of community appeals to some older adults; it’s a little quieter.”

In an age-targeted community, kids and grandkids can visit for the whole summer, making these types of communities attractive to 55+ buyers who want to host family for extended periods.

According to a recent e-newsletter from John Burns, CEO of John Burns Real Estate Consulting, the latest trend among homebuilders who are targeting 55+ buyers is building “age-restricted neighborhoods sprinkled throughout a family-oriented masterplan.”

Linda Mamet, vice president of Corporate Marketing at TRI Pointe Group, says this is because buyers want the best of both worlds.

“Homebuyers can live in a gated, age-restricted community within a larger community with diverse age groups close by,” she says.

Retirees can easily avoid the noise that comes with active kids, but still live close to family who live in other parts of the master-planned community or enjoy the same activities that their Millennials neighbors enjoy, without having to go far.

To help you determine which type of community you prefer, make a list of the things you want in a community — and the things you don’t want. Doing so will help you better understand if an age-restricted or an age-targeted community will be the best place to build your new home.
Patricia L. Garcia is an award-winning journalist and former content manager for NewHomeSource. You can find her on Google+.

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