Nearly half of all seniors use the Internet as part of the home-buying process, and most senior home buyers stay in their home state, according to a research report from the Senior Advantage Real Estate Council released today.

The “Moving Forward: 50 and Beyond” survey, conducted in September 2005, explores the buying trends of U.S. consumers 50 or more years of age who purchased a home within the last six months.

The survey discovered key differences in behaviors between “younger” seniors, those 50 to 64 years of age, and “older” seniors, those 65 or more years of age.

According to the study, nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of home buyers utilizing the Internet did so to locate a specific Realtor, 92 percent utilized the Internet to research comparable prices, and 19 percent went online to learn about specific neighborhoods.

“While the prospect of retirement is an exciting time for most seniors, many have not planned for the economic issues that arise as a result,” said Dr. Nathan Booth, senior advisor to the council.

“For seniors choosing to remain in the workforce, or even retire early, help is needed in finding the best and most prudent use of the resources available to them in real estate. It has become increasingly important to understand the changing and emerging buying and selling habits of senior homeowners,” Booth said.

The survey also revealed that not only did most senior home buyers stay within their home state (82 percent), they moved less than 100 miles from their previous home. Younger seniors tended to move farther away from their previous residences than did older seniors, according to the survey.

Of those senior home buyers who did move to a new state (18 percent), the most popular choices were: Florida, 26 percent; Texas, 11 percent; Arizona, 8 percent; Nevada, 7 percent; and Virginia, 6 percent.

The council is the organization that confers the Seniors Real Estate Specialist designation upon Realtors nationwide. The organization said its mission is to assist Realtors in meeting the unique real estate needs and concerns of maturing Americans.

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