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Jeff and Sharon Kay Brown are not retired yet, but they moved into an active adult community in Broomfield, Colorado, just outside Denver, less than a year ago. After living in several different cities over the years, they wanted a social atmosphere with people their own age, but they didn't want to skimp on the luxuries.
"Because this is it. This is the last house you're going to have. You gotta get what you want," said Sharon, who is 56 and works from home.
They bought a new home in a community by luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers. The prices in their community, and in one going up in nearby Aurora, Colorado, can be as high as $1.2 million.
"We've been fortunate. We've both worked for 30 plus years and been able to save and invest and all that stuff. So we have funds accumulated to get here," said Jeff, who is also able to work from home.
They chose an adult community because they wanted all the activities — the clubhouse, the fitness center, pools, classes, lectures ... what Toll calls "lifestyle amenities."
"It's the social aspect of knowing your neighbors, walking down the street with a glass of wine at 5 o'clock and saying hi and talking to people that maybe were in your tennis group that morning," said Mark Bailey, division president for Toll Brothers' active adult communities.
Active adult communities have seen high demand in recent years, and builder confidence in the sector has been rising steadily, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Both demographics and the trend toward more active living are driving buyers to these developments.
"Active adult — we built a great brand in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. We knew we would take that brand West, and now we're taking it West in a big way," said Toll Brothers CEO Doug Yearley on a conference call with analysts, following the company's third-quarter earning's release.
The homes in Toll's latest community in Aurora feature gourmet kitchens, luxury bathrooms with pedestal tubs, grandchildren suites and exercise rooms where walls lift automatically, opening onto outdoor kitchens with mountain views. Hundreds of upgrades are available, depending on what the buyers want to pay.
"They don't want to simplify, necessarily, they want to right-size. A lot of them are coming from 3,000- and 4,000-square-foot family houses, and they're downsizing in square footage, but they still want the luxury, they still want the house to live big, fit their needs," said Bailey.
The Browns aren't concerned about resale value, given the high demand they're seeing for the homes around them and the high-end features in the homes. The selling points are really the amenities and the lifestyle.
"We use the trails here a lot for walking and biking and stuff. There's like 50 miles of trails," said Jeff.
"There's so much to do. Why would you want to leave?" added Sharon.