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What's the Difference Between Age Restricted and Age Targeted?

Are All Active Adult Communities Exclusively 55+?

This question is coming up more often from you, our Buyer Clients. You have been reading about 55+ active adult communities for years as you have been planning for your retirement. Now the time has come and you are on our web site or others you found in a Google search and you find the term age targeted or All Ages when youre reading about active adult communities vs. 55+ or age restricted. Whats that about? Are all active adult communities exclusively 55+?

Not all active adult communities are age restricted and many of our clients that are 55+ are choosing to buy in all ages communities that are age targeted. Can you tell the difference?

All Real Estate is Local

I can only talk about real estate in Delaware. Even within Delaware, things are very different in Northern, Central and Southern Delaware. Lets start with Southern Delaware - We also call it Coastal Delaware because most people move here to be near the beach resorts and all the amenities that go along with this location. It has always been a popular place for people to relocate or buy a second home and eventually retire and that was long before the advent of 55+ communities.

"The first 55+ age restricted communities opened back in the early 1960s and Del Webbs Sun City Arizona is still in operation today as an age restricted community that has grown to more than 40,000 residents!

In Delaware, however, the first 55+ community did not begin selling until the early 2000s. In fact, settlements at Heritage Shores in Bridgeville and Bay Crossing in Lewes did not start until late 2005. Sales at Independence kicked off in 2007.

In Northern and Central Delaware, the first 55+ condo communities and smaller townhome type communities started to appear in the late 90s, but the modern day active adult communities did not show up until the early to mid-2000s."

What is the Appeal of an Age Restricted 55+ Community?

Is it that no children under the age of 19 will be living next to you? Or is it the amenities that come included? Many people think that you must be in a 55+ community to get the following -

  • Clubhouse
  • Fitness Center
  • Activities, lots of them
  • Outdoor Pool and maybe an Indoor Pool
  • Walking Trails
  • Pickle Ball
  • Lawn Maintenance, especially grass cutting

When we show them that they can get all these services in some All Ages Communities, it turns out that the age restriction by itself is not that important. In fact, the HOA fee in some age restricted, 55+ communities does not include grass cutting, it is extra.

"When my parents retired, I asked my stepfather why they didnt move to a 55+ community instead of the neighborhood they chose in Bethlehem, PA. He told me he didnt want to be around just old people; he enjoyed being Papa John to all the neighborhood children."

Advantages of Age Targeted vs. Age Restricted

Builders are leaning toward the development of age targeted communities without a specific age restriction. These communities offer many of the same services and amenities and the target customer is the same Baby Boomer planning for retirement. The flexibility of removing the strict age restriction broadens the potential market to include -

  • Younger Baby Boomers who are not yet retired. They may be buying a second home for now or relocating yet continuing to work. Some are taking early retirement and finding new career opportunities for their second phase.
  • Blended families that still have younger children at home. In a second marriage, there may still be children at home when one is ready to retire.
  • Retirees that are now raising grandchildren.
  • Estate Planningtypeswho are concerned with leaving their home to the children if something should happen to them.

In Southern Delaware, you will find mostly Age Targeted active adult communities and I expect that trend to continue. That means you will find

  • Homes with one level living - 1st Floor Masters; if there is a second floor it is designed for guests while you will live without using the steps daily.
  • Community Center and at least an outdoor pool
  • Lawn Maintenance and Common Area Maintenance

But no two communities are exactly alike. We know them all and can help you evaluate which is the right choice for you.

Something for Everyone

We have something for everyone and every day with a new client brings that home. So, if you do want a 55+ community with an indoor pool, an outdoor pool and a great fitness center, we have a few of those. But, if you prefer a community that is as close as possible to the resort towns, the beach and good bike trails, we have that as well.

The better we get to know you, the more we can help you find the right place that will feel like home for years to come. Get to know us Meet our Agents then give us a call at 302-424-1890 or email

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  1. Anne V French on

    Hi Kathy, Where is this beautiful house show on your article? Anne French