Beyond 55+ communities in Delaware

When I first discovered Coastal DELAWARE I was living and working in the DC Metropolitan area. Everyone I met seemed to vacation at the Delaware Beaches. When they were ready to buy a second home or vacation home, Delaware was at the top of their list. It reminded me of growing up in Northern New Jersey. All my friends went to the Jersey Shore and many ended up buying vacation homes at the Shore. Life was good.

55 and beyondNow, fast forward to today and the headlines read:

10,000 Baby Boomer turn 65 every day!

And, all of those people I grew up with in New Jersey are trying to decide what to do when they retire.  It may have been their plan to retire to the Jersey Shore, but those taxes have gone up so much! Or, it may have been Florida they planned to make their retirement home, but that is so far from the grandkids!

So, they turned to the Internet and started searching for alternatives. Maybe – the Carolinas? Maybe – try Delaware First? Is Delaware a State (some never thought so and most had never been here)? Then they heard about Delaware being a good place to retire, so they searched for 55+ communities in Delaware.

Can you show me 55+ communities near the Delaware Beaches?

As all this evolved, there were no 55+ communities in Southern Delaware. Unlike New Jersey, the concept of age restricted communities only began here around 2005 or 2006. They were in the planning stages, I am sure, but the idea of retirement communities is relatively new here. And yet, I moved to Delaware in 2000 in my 50s thinking this would be a great place to live for the rest of my life. Coastal Delaware offered a slower pace of living, no Beltway or Turnpike, affordable homes, the beaches, great restaurants … what else did I need?

In Southern Delaware, closest to the beaches and the resort area, there are not that many age restricted 55+ communities and people often ask me why. With the natural draw of the area, locals consider the whole area to be great for active adults and I think that is the main reason more builders do not want to restrict access. Long before 55+ became a thing, people planned to retire to the Delaware Beaches. A vacation home purchased at 49 might become your retirement home when you turn 55 or 60.

What changed?

Well, for one, word got out about Delaware. It is no longer just people from DC, Maryland, Virginia and parts of Pennsylvania moving here or buying second homes. Now New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and all of the Northeastern US have learned that little Delaware is the place to be.

The advent of 55+ active adult communities combined with the aging Baby Boomer population that surrounds Delaware created a strong draw for retirees relocating to the 1st State. The developers and builders responded to this boom of buyers and began to build age-restricted communities with a full suite of amenities. Communities like Bay Crossing in Lewes started selling in 2005. It is now sold out. Independence also opened about a year later and is now approximately 60% sold. Heritage Shores started selling at the same time and plans for 1800 residences when complete. With about 500 homes sold as of the end of 2016, it offers amenities that compete with those in the Carolinas or Florida with one very important benefit – it is much closer to family, friends and the familiar.

If you only want to consider 55+ communities, there are more choices in the Central and Northern part of Delaware. Middletown, Delaware, has become very popular with relocating Baby Boomers. It is closer to the airport in Philadelphia, the AMTRAK in Wilmington and Rt. 95 for those making the trek to see the grandchildren back home. And, you’ll be less than 1 ½ hours to the beach; Delaware is a small state! Four Seasons at Silver Maple, a 55+ active adult community, sold out in about half the time they originally forecast. In fact it was one of the fastest selling communities in all of Delaware and we hear they are planning to build another community. Spring Arbor is nearly complete/sold out but the Ponds at Bayberry South will be building for many years to come.

Beyond 55+

As I look back on this year, I realize that many of our clients look beyond the 55+ age restriction when they are looking for their next home. That has been consistent since we opened our brokerage Active Adults Realty almost 6 years ago. At first, people think we only deal with 55+ communities, but I correct them –

We primarily work with people that tend to be 55+. Active Adults, Baby Boomers, people making decisions about where and how they want to live for the next phase of life on their own terms. Not everyone wants the same thing and that is truly what makes our work both challenging and fun.

Many of our clients have bought homes in Historic Lewes or Milton, some purchased condos near the beach and others found a great rancher in a traditional neighborhood.

What is important?

  • Location, Location, Location – is always important at every age
  • Less maintenance and more time to do things you enjoy
  • Lots of activities and a variety of things to do
  • Adult education and travel opportunities
  • A sense of community and a chance to meet others with common interests

Think outside the box. Beyond 55+ and Delaware just might be the perfect choice for you!

Call 302-424-1890 or email us to get started on your Delaware move today.