31 May 2010

Gay active adult communities growing in popularity -- as predicted in Leisureville

We’re Here. We’re Queer. We’re Retiring.
As America’s gay population ages, LGBT seniors are opting to retire among their own.
by Linda SternMay 26, 2010

Faith Cathcart
At home, at ease: Residents at Rainbow Vista, a gay-friendly retirement home in Oregon.

The last place lesbians and gays want to go when they retire is back into the closet. Just like the larger population, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) seniors want to settle into comfortable, low-maintenance homes in welcoming and affordable communities. “There are estimated to be up to 6 million LGBT baby boomers, and 1 [million] to 3 million over the age of 65,” says Jan Cullinane, coauthor with Cathy Fitzgerald of The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life.

Related Article: Long Invisible, Gay Seniors Seek Respect, Services »
To meet the demands of America’s aging gay population, developers are targeting the LGBT market with everything from active-adult rental apartments to retirement communities that promise lifelong care. Exactly how many such developments there are in the country is hard to quantify, but according to the Web site Gay Retirement Guide, there are about 25 existing gay retirement communities in the U.S., and more on the drawing board. That’s a significant increase from 2001, when NEWSWEEK first covered this story and only one gay retirement community was open for business.
Such growth is in contrast to the slower pace of development and the financial troubles hitting traditional “straight” communities. While it’s true that gay communities are getting a later start and haven’t already saturated senior areas like Florida and Arizona with developments, Culliane notes that older LGBTs may be more likely to move to retirement communities than heterosexuals. Why? Gay baby boomers are more likely to worry about their later years than are their heterosexual counterparts, according to a new study on sexual minorities and aging by the Metlife Mature Marketing Institute and the American Society on Aging: “More than a quarter of LGBT boomers reported great concern about discrimination as they age.” And as Culliane notes, “They often have no children to help care for them, may be alienated from other family, or just feel more comfortable in a setting with other gay or lesbian neighbors.”

Justin Sullivan
What to Spend On: Money saving tips.

Quiz: Do You Really Want to Buy That?
The key “amenity” sought after by sexual minorities is respectful medical care that recognizes the rights of same-sex partners to visit and be included in discussions and decisions. But there are others. “You need separate pools for the men and the women, and a place for dogs. Pets are very big,” says Veronica St. Claire, who is planning a full-featured continuing-care retirement community in Palm Springs, Calif., with her business and personal partner, Mary Thorndahl. They created the the Gay and Lesbian Association of Retiring Persons to build the new community. “It’s going to be soup to nuts in terms of lifelong health care … and we’re going to have a flower room for making flower arrangments,” she says. “We’re not going to be playing bingo, I’ll tell you that.”

That being said, the amenities that attract sexual minorities to a particular retirement community aren’t strikingly different from traditional or straight communities, and, in fact, in many areas developers aren’t allowed to discriminate against straight (or gay) retirees. (Many states and municipalities ban housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but it’s not against the law everywhere.) The new gay-focused retirement communities typically say they would not discriminate against straight residents; they simply are aiming their marketing efforts at sexual minorities, perhaps with carefully planned pictures of same-sex couples on their Web sites and in their advertising brochures.

The new crop of LGBT retirement communities runs the gamut from rental units in active-lifestyle resorts to buy-in long-term-care facilities. The self-proclaimed oldest gay and lesbian retirement community is the Palms of Manasota, a villa community in Palmetto, Fla., that opened in 1998. The most recently added community is the Stonewall Retirement Community, which opened earlier this spring in Woodbine, Md. It’s a single building with rental apartments and amenities, including group dinners and a theater.

While concious of the economy’s uncertainty, developers around the country are optimistic that their specialized communities are here to stay. “We have interest from a huge number of people who are very affluent. They are lawyers, doctors, Indian chiefs, everything,” says St. Claire. “They want the same thing the straights have got. A nice safe place to be.”

Boomer's wealth evaporation hurting Active Adult housing market

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
May 25, 2010

First-timers, boomers seen as key in housing recovery

By Alan J. Heavens


Although the situation is open to interpretation as well as change, there are growing concerns that the effects of this economic downturn could have a long-lasting effect on the housing market.

A study by the Mortgage Bankers Association, conducted by University of Kentucky economics professor Joe Peek, concludes that "the current financial crisis and recession exceeded the devastation created by other post-World War II recessions."

Saving rates have risen substantially. Many Americans will continue to cut spending sharply out of necessity, "others out of fear of what the future holds," Peek said.

When it comes to housing, he said, it was unlikely that the dramatic rise in loan delinquencies, foreclosures and bankruptcies would show a "meaningful" decrease in the foreseeable future.

"High unemployment and low house prices are widely projected to remain for an extended period, as well as the rise in problem loans at banks that will restrain their willingness and ability to provide credit," Peek said.

Two groups expected to feel the pinch are young first-time buyers and the so-called active-adult purchasers who downsize as their children grow and move out.

"The impact of a higher unemployment rate for Americans ages 16 to 24 could have a lasting effect on lifetime earnings and attitudes toward risk and social policies," Peek said.

In addition, those nearing retirement are delaying it and re-entering the labor force "in an effort to rebuild some of the retirement wealth that was wiped out by the recession," he said.

The housing industry had been banking on both of these groups to sustain growth during the coming decades - especially the empty-nester baby boomers.

"The tougher economic circumstances for twentysomethings and fiftysomethings will weigh on housing demand over the coming decade," said Mark Zandi, Moody's Economy.com chief economist in West Chester. "The first-time buyer and second home markets would be most directly impacted."

Economist Patrick Newport of IHS Global Insight of Lexington, Mass., said that Peek's assessments "are a lot more dismal than ours, and our is hardly rosy."

He said today's housing market "is imposing a bit more discipline by requiring bigger down payments and better credit scores for buying homes."

The financial-reform package passed last week by the Senate includes provisions that, in addition to restricting prepayment penalties and controlling mortgage-broker compensation, would force lenders to consider applicants' income, assets and credit history before making a loan.

If this change is permanent, perhaps homeownership rates will come down to pre-1995 levels - the year they started to climb.

"I do not think this would be such a bad thing," he said.

The homeownership rate slipped to 67.2 percent in the first quarter of 2010 - its lowest reading since the first quarter of 2000.

Home-ownership rates averaged 64 percent from 1985 to '94, but accelerated in 1995 because of government policies that encouraged homeownership, especially for previously underserved low- and moderate-income buyers.

Rates reached record highs of 69 percent "because of easy lending during the housing boom," Newport said.

Although it is probably likely that the lack of good-paying jobs will delay the entry of the current 16- to 24-year-olds into the home-buying market, "it's less clear what effect the re-entry into the workforce of baby boomers is going to have," said Rick Sharga, chief economist of RealtyTrac.

"In some cases, this may keep inventory levels down, as the boomers stay in their current homes while going back to work," Sharga said.

"On the other hand, they may opt to 'trade down' in an effort to maximize their retirement dollars while they're replenishing their IRAs and 401(k) accounts," he said.

"At best, this all suggests a pretty slow, marginal recovery over the next few years," Sharga said.

02 May 2010

New Reality TV Series based on LEISUREVILLE

Here are some links:





01 May 2010

Ex-Villager's had enough of Village's Life

Dear Andrew,

I wish, wish, wish I had read your book before I'd made the decision to try the Villages.

Having lived in Bermuda, Trinidad, Nasau, and Paris during my tenure with IBM Int. Marketing, I should have known better. BUT, married friends of mine from my Bermuda days simply raved about the place. Little did I know that the Villages was Orwell's 1984 redux.

I lasted about 16 months in a village quite near the Lake Sumpter landing. One objective involved finishing my novel which I had screwed around with for about 6 years or so. I guess I finally came to the conclusion that the Villages and their incessant propaganda machine wasn't for me. In short, as one in his late 60's I grew more and more despondent when all I saw were 50,000 other gray-hairs who only lived for drink and golf for the most part. I missed seeing kids, young couples.

To name a few, I was incensed when I got my annual Village tax statement that indicated an extra $ 550 "reserve" fee that was never mentioned at closing. Moreover, while my house was advertised at $ 207K, it was really $ 222K which included the "bond." Not only that but the Morse's also charged me INTEREST on the bond: talk about usury.

The constant brain washing was driving me over the edge. I told myself I'd better get the hell out of here. And when I told some of my friends the place just wasn't for me, I was almost immediately shunned.

I've many more vignettes I can reveal that you didn't cover in your excellent reportorial work. More importantly, I was able to sell my house with just a minor loss in Feb. 2008. Hail Mary ! I now live in a "mixed" age community in Vero Beach, FL and simply love it.

Bob G, Vero Beach, FL former Villager