The Housing Chronicles Blog: Builders asking some cities and HOAs to reconsider age restrictions

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Builders asking some cities and HOAs to reconsider age restrictions

During the boom years, cities loved age-restricted communities (usually 55+) because seniors don't demand public school services, they trend to drive less, they ask less of their government and, best of all, calls to police departments for raucous parties tend to be rare when they end by 8pm.

Now, however, the very benefit that allowed these communities to sell at paces far beyond what was typical for an area -- the age restriction -- is starting to act as a anchor. Consequently, some builders are asking both municipalities and HOAs to rescind these age restrictions in order to spike sales. From a story:

When the housing market was booming, age-restricted communities made business sense for builders, too. Most of the buyers owned their homes outright and had seen the value of those properties skyrocket. They could sell quickly and pay cash for their new homes.

Now, those buyers are stuck, unable to sell their current homes--or unwilling to do so at current home prices. As a result, builders who won government approvals based on restrictions that said at least one occupant of each unit would be at 55 years old now have projects that are dead in the water.

Some builders are trying to get relief from the restrictions so they can jump-start sales. Kalian Companies, a Red Bank, N.J.-based builder/developer, spent nearly a year working on revising the plans for Carriage Park at Bound Brook, a 144-unit condominium project in the town of Bound Brook. “When we bought it, we didn’t even think about not going age-restricted,” says company president Mazin Patrick Kalian. “Every project in New Jersey was getting approved age-restricted because the schools in New Jersey were so backed up.”

Click here for full story.

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