Single-family homes have the most appeal for aging baby boomers, according to a survey released today.

Twenty-one percent of 50-plus consumers responding to the survey were considering a move in the next five years, and of those planning to move, 63 percent said they are looking to purchase a single-family home, while 18 percent would purchase a condo or townhouse. Two percent said they would choose an adult community, according to the survey conducted by ERA Real Estate.

ERA’s phone survey included more than 1,000 men and women aged 50 years and older.

More than half of those surveyed, 55 percent, cited retirement as one of the reasons for buying a new home. Other motivating factors identified include a desire to downsize, lower taxes, proximity to friends and family, a change of climate and affordability. Predictably, 42 percent of seniors over 65 years of age factored health concerns into their decision to move. A surprising 15 percent of senior men and women actually said that they wanted to upsize their home.

Though the 50-plus demographic may be mobile, they aren’t planning to stray too far from loved ones any time soon. Seventy-one percent said it was important to be near their family. Family ties were even stronger for women (77 percent) than men (65 percent).

A relaxed lifestyle appears to be high on the priority list for some 50-plus buyers. Fifteen percent of respondents said they owned a second home or vacation home while an additional 10 percent indicated they would consider buying one in the next five years.

While 55 percent of respondents who own or plan to buy a second home want it for vacation purposes, 48 percent made or plan to make their second-home purchase for retirement. A savvy 45 percent bought it or plan to buy it as an investment though there’s a dramatic difference between males and females when considering the investment potential of a second home with more males (51 percent) than females (37 percent) citing investment potential as a reason for buying.

When it comes to searching for a house, one out of four (27 percent) said their first step would be to search the Internet if they were thinking of moving or buying a home in the next five years. However, this search method was more prevalent for those under the age of 65 (33 percent) than those age 65 or older (12 percent). Talking to a real estate agent or broker that they know was the preferred first step for 18 percent of those polled while 14 percent would choose to talk to a friend, family member or business associate.

While mature consumers report being comfortable searching for a new home on the Internet, when queried about how they would choose a real estate agent they indicate that they would rely more on interpersonal contact with 62 percent saying they would get a recommendation and 60 percent would call a friend. Almost half (45 percent) said they would visit one or more real estate brokers and talk to sales associates. One in five would look in the newspaper or search the Internet.

The ERA real estate network includes more than 36,600 brokers and sales associates and 2,800 offices throughout the United States and 28 other countries and territories. Each office is independently owned and operated except offices owned and operated by NRT Inc.

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