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by AndreaWalsh7

Monday, January 16, 2006

This article is true for Chautauqua Lake and Ellicotville. There are at least two new resort projects in the final stages of development for both areas.

Publishing date: 01/13/06
RISMEDIA, Jan.16 — (KRT) — While Tom Tolleson's three sons were growing up, his Buckhead ranch-style house in Atlanta provided the perfect environment for their adolescent pursuits. But with his last son now in college, Tolleson, 55, and his wife, Lynn, have decided it's time for a change. The Tollesons sold their Blackland Road home last year and bought a condo in Novare Properties' upscale Gallery project now under construction at Peachtree and Rumson roads. They also are building a vacation home in Ellijay. "I want to make my life manageable," Tolleson said. "I want to finish my life well. I want to concentrate my time on the things that are really important." All over America, baby boomers like Tolleson are parking the minivan, junking the lawn mower and racking up unprecedented sales in resort-style subdivisions, luxury condominiums and mountain or beach vacation retreats. In Orlando this week, builders and developers from throughout the nation converged to talk about what these estimated 76 million boomers want, how much they're willing to spend on it and how they can mold the country's housing market to capture a share of the trillions of dollars boomers now command through inheritance, equity and career earnings. Market analyst Tim Sullivan of San Diego charts boomer trends for developers. Sullivan said baby boomers' buying habits are more difficult to pigeonhole than other demographic groups. "They're buying everything and they're buying it everywhere," Sullivan said. "This buyer has now transcended the traditional buyer profile." Of more than 1 million U.S. home sales anticipated in 2006, Sullivan estimated more than 300,000 will be to baby boomers. Back in Atlanta, David Tufts, president of Coldwell Banker's The Condo Store, is working with scores of downsizing boomers in Atlanta. They may be shrinking their space, Tufts said, but they are not lowering their standards. "My parents were not spenders. They were savers," Tufts said. "The inherited wealth that's coming is huge because of the savings of the generation before, and these baby boomers will spend it." The first wave of baby boomers is beginning to retire. But compared to their parents, the so-called Greatest Generation, boomers as a group are more mobile, less frugal and healthier. Michael Kephart, a Denver architect who designs communities nationwide for over-50 buyers, told journalists in Orlando that boomers are attracted to spaces that are open, informal and imaginative. "They don't have to show anybody anything. They don't have to impress anybody," Kephart said. Retirement for the boomers may involve rocking chairs but only after two sets of tennis, 18 holes of golf or a vigorous day hike. For many, it will be a time to realize dreams deferred in the interest of family responsibilities or an opportunity to devote pent-up energy to dormant passions neglected during their prime earning years. "They're not retiring," Tufts said. "They're moving on." Some boomers, like Tolleson, are dividing their resources between a chic smaller primary residence and a vacation home. Builders and developers have come to refer to these homeowners as "splitters." But others are looking for a package deal. These home buyers are scouting the housing market not only for homes built to accommodate them as they age, but communities packaged with a wide-ranging buffet of built-in recreational activities and home maintenance services. Casey Hill, president of the Georgia division of Pulte Homes' Del Webb brand, which specializes in housing for adults over 50, said marketing to the aging boomers entails a far different set of amenities than earlier senior markets. "They're no longer playing shuffleboard," Hill said. "They're skydiving." Del Webb is one of the nation's two largest and most experienced builders of so-called active adult communities. Its Village at Deaton Creek broke ground in Hall County near Gainesville last fall. Levitt and Sons, another active adult community builder, is hard at work on Seasons at Laurel Canyon near Canton. Levitt's regional president, Dan Grosswald, says sales have been brisk. "Atlanta is one of the fastest-growing baby boomer markets in the country," Grossman said. Both companies are clearly committed to aggressive growth strategies in Georgia for active adult living. In addition to what Hill said was an Atlanta market with more than 500,000 qualified active adult households, the area was attracting buyers from other locations. "We're seeing a lot of interest from outside Atlanta as well as inside," Hill said. "Our goal is to make Georgia the new Florida in terms of active adult 1/8development3/8." Southern flight Market analyst Sullivan said that only about 20 percent of baby boomers expect to relocate when they retire. But he said Southern cities will receive many of those who do migrate, while Northeastern cities are seeing a disproportionate exodus of boomers. Those who do remain in their communities may buy new homes there, unless they are discouraged by rising home prices or heavy tax penalties, according to Sullivan. Boomers who do not buy new homes probably will renovate their existing homes to suit a new lifestyle, adding main-floor bedrooms, expanding kitchens and building in-law suites for aging parents. Copyright © 2006, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.


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