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Tags: senior living | retirees | convenience of city living

More Seniors Move to Cities, Lured by Social Scene

Sweeping views of New York Harbor from a lower Manhattan condominium highrise (Dreamstime)

By    |   Thursday, 07 April 2022 12:40 PM EDT

A number of seniors are trading away quiet suburban life for bright lights, big city.

The lure? The social life, cultural attractions and convenience of high-rise living.  

Sixty-five-year-old Bob Garst is one of those who made the change. An unmarried IT consultant, Garst moved to Atlanta from the suburbs, and has never been happier. Drawn to the downtown attractions, Garst tells The Wall Street Journal he enjoys the energy of being around other people, especially Atlanta’s restaurant scene. Garst’s new home is vastly different than his former home in the suburbs.

'Love It'

“It was a beautiful house but when I shut the door, I was all alone,” Garst said. “Now, I meet people on the elevators, I meet people in the lobby, I meet people at the pool. I love it.” 

Cynthia Starke is another transplant. Seeking a change after a divorce, the 66-year-old retiree sold her home in the New Jersey suburbs and bought a $4.25 million condo in Manhattan’s trendy Chelsea neighborhood in November. Describing the annoyances of snow plowing, lawn mowing, and the never-ending upkeep of a home, Starke says her biggest problem now is now deciding which museum, show or restaurant to grace with her new city friends. 

The two empty nesters are not alone in their desire to get in on a slice of the city action. While 17% of the country is over the age of 65, nearly one third of all moves in 2020 were senior citizens, according to United Van Lines.

Predictably, retired seniors are also in search of warm weather. The Sun Belt offers a wide array of increasingly popular options for retirees, and top cities seniors moved to in 2021, per a SmartAsset report, included Mesa and Scottsdale, Arizona, Savannah, Georgia, the Las Vegas metro area, Fort Myers, Florida, and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Erin Sykes, a Florida-based realtor and economist for Nest Seekers, tells Newsmax Finance that there was a “huge shift from cities to suburbs in 2020 among seniors and families alike, and then a reshuffling back into cities by Gen Z and some active seniors. Both groups are craving accessibility, entertainment, and home management ease. For seniors, living in a single-story condo with elevator access and a doorman to deliver large packages is ideal. With no more lawn to take care of, it also gives piece of mind to adult children of seniors that their loved ones have less day-to-day stress.”

Sykes adds that suburban homes are selling for record prices, “giving seniors an opportunity to trade out of homes with a cushy profit and buffering their retirement funds when moving to their preferred city and perhaps renting instead of buying.”

Historic Influx to Savannah

In Savannah, Georgia, a mid-sized, coastal hub that has drawn retirees for years, local realtor Ed Yannett tells Newsmax Finance the city is seeing more retirees move in than ever before. “Savannah is a very walkable, livable downtown, with a lot of parks. You cannot walk a block without a place to shop or eat at a good restaurant.”

Yannett, however, warns that the historic influx of retirees has raised local housing prices. “It is not very affordable anymore. The average price now is $2.5 million on the market right now—and that is Savannah, not New York. For us, the attraction has always been here. It has always been a trend for empty nesters, retirees, but we have seen even more of an influx since COVID began.”

The surge of retirees into Savannah is also causing a lack of inventory on the multiple listing service (MLS), Yannett notes: “In the downtown area of Savannah, there are only 11 listings currently on the market, but in the last six months, 97 places sold, alongside another 19 that will be sold soon. That’s less than a month’s inventory left, which is ridiculously low.” Back in 2019, inventory was backed up for six or seven months.

Mark Chaney, a realtor with Sotheby’s in Phoenix, tells Newsmax Finance that the city is seeing similar trends to Savannah. “A lot [of people] are coming in. Two hundred and fifty people a day are moving into the Phoenix area in total,” as Phoenix was the fastest growing city for five straight years, Chaney says.

But a fast-growing city means shrinking supply. “Housing prices are going up. Around here, there are only 4,300 homes available on MLS, and that’s for 4.5 million people. Until there is new inventory, it is not going to get better.”

© 2023 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.

A number of seniors are trading away quiet suburban life for bright lights, big city. The lure? The social life, cultural attractions and convenience of high-rise living.
senior living, retirees, convenience of city living
Thursday, 07 April 2022 12:40 PM
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