TAMPA – Many baby boomers are bucking the one-time pattern of moving into retirement communities. Instead, they are favoring what is becoming known as “retiring in place.”
Realtors in Hillsborough County say baby boomers now desire to stay in their hometowns, but move to maintenance-free townhomes, villas or condos, so they may continue living and working in a familiar setting.
Jeanne F. Zylstra, a broker at Temple Terrace Realty, Inc., said construction in Temple Terrace has been too slow to keep up with the demand.
“I think that there is a lot of pent-up demand from the city’s baby boomers for townhouse living,” Zylstra said. “Nobody really wants to leave the area and many are hoping for a successful collaboration with a private developer and the city (of Temple Terrace) to provide such a product.”
She pointed out the Temple Terrace City Council recently voted unanimously to sue the developer of its $150 million downtown project. A proposed residential and shopping development located on the east side of 56th Street from Bullard Parkway to the Hillsborough River has been stalled for two years.
Zylstra said some Temple Terrace retirees are gravitating to New Tampa, which has a variety of condos and townhomes. Some of the condo units are former apartments that converted during the real estate boom in the early 2000s.
“There is more choice of townhome living in New Tampa, but Temple Terrace sellers usually like to stay in the area if they can unless their occupation takes them out of town/state,” Zylstra said. “I know personally of some people who have moved to New Tampa for that reason – more choice of townhome options – but who would move back, in a minute, if the downtown redevelopment project in Temple Terrace were to take off.”
She is disappointed the developer of the downtown project announced the only products they thought viable were rental units as opposed to privately owned units.
“Hopefully, another developer will be found who can take advantage of what many economists predict will be a continued real estate recovery,” Zylstra said.
Although most of New Tampa and Temple Terrace has been built out, there has been some construction this past year in Tampa Palms. Taylor Morrison and Standard Pacific are building single-family homes in one of the final sections of Tampa Palms called Tuscany at Tampa Palms. The neighborhood provides lawn maintenance.
Boomers searching for new townhomes can also head south, where many are finding the units priced in the mid-100s by D.R. Horton at The Cove at Avelar Creek in Riverview.
Mary Odum of Brandon, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate Central Brandon, said most of her older clients prefer villas over two-story townhomes when they downsize.
“Once people are around 60, they are more interested in a one level,” Odum said. “The empty nesters are streamlining their way of life. They don’t need the clutter you have to have with small children or teenagers. They are looking to simplify their lives.”
She said most pre-retirees and retirees want garages so their cars don’t sit out in the hot sun.
Odum, who has sold real estate in Brandon for 30 years, said empty nesters may find villas for sale or rent in Riverview’s Panther Trace as well as FishHawk.
“When Standard Pacific built the villas at FishHawk, they sold like hotcakes,” she said. “Those are people close to retirement age who don’t want to worry about upkeep, maintenance and cutting the grass.”
Although most people living in townhomes or condos pay a monthly maintenance fee, the cost of the unit is generally less expensive than single-family homes in the county.
Zylstra said Temple Terrace offers a wide range of housing price ranges, which also appeal to baby boomers, some of whom were affected by layoffs and government shutdowns.
“Real estate trends in Temple Terrace were similar to many other areas in Florida last year in that prices rose dramatically, due in part to institutional investors, but fell in late summer/early fall, coinciding with the government shutdown,” Zylstra said. “There’s no doubt that prices have been on the rebound since the re-opening of the government, but I think it’s fair to say that the whole economy is fragile.”
She said foreclosures dropped last year in the 33617 area code and even further within the city boundaries. Zylstra said Temple Terrace homes range from about $150,000 to just less than $1 million on the Hillsborough River.