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Survey Finds Older Buyers Prefer Detached Housing

May 18, 1986

Older home buyers--those 50 years and above--have many of the same ideas as those in younger age brackets, right down to their preference for single-family detached houses over attached housing.

This emerged from a study of 4,000 Sun Belt residents, completed in March by Color Design Art, a Pacific Palisades-based national interior merchandising firm that designs model homes for builders.

About 42% of those polled plan to move from their current homes during the next five years and 67% plan to move within the next 10 years. More than seven out of 10 believe that their next home will be smaller than their current one and 65% think it will be a single-family detached home rather than a form of attached housing.

"While seniors are looking for smaller homes, they are not looking for little boxes," according to Beverly Trupp, president of Color Design Art. "The survey shows they put a premium on such features as large master bedrooms and good-sized kitchens and living rooms. The challenge to builders is to create homes with fewer but more spacious rooms."

Quality and tradition are high on the list of factors that older buyers consider to be important, she added. Quality is typified by concern with workmanship, energy and maximum use of space, while tradition shows up in preferences for homes that are roomy, well-lit and often decorated in furnishings and tones similar to those in their present homes.

Studies show that while people over 50 make up 25% of the nation's population, they control almost 50% of the nation's disposable income.

"In many ways, seniors are the most exacting of potential home buyers--and the most difficult to please," Trupp added.

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