Active Adult Communities Are Booming In Small Town Setting
In recent years, there has been a veritable explosion of age-restricted upscale communities for active retirees throughout Connecticut. Recognizing the demand from the general public and the advantages that this type of housing offers, developers and municipal planners, working together, have facilitated a substantial increase in the construction of residential units for this market niche.
Realizing that many of today's "baby boomers" either do not want all-out retirement or prefer to stay close to friends and families, marketers of these new communities in the small towns and villages of rural and coastal Connecticut are finding that buyers are being drawn from metropolitan New York, as well as from in-state empty-nesters seeking smaller, semi-luxury homes and maintenance-free living.
In fact, a New York Times article concluded that, in 2005, Connecticut was one of three "hot spots" for age-restricted communities in New England, with more than 2,000 housing units under development in approximately 150 age-restricted neighborhoods across the state. In the shoreline town of East Lyme, the success of two upscale communities for adults 55 and older has inspired several new communities and prompted city officials to promote the trend as a growth industry and source of new property tax revenues.
Other areas, including the affluent commuter neighborhoods of Litchfield and Fairfield Counties, are experiencing a similar boom in retirement housing, with some homes priced at levels that might be seemed rather expensive for the average retiree, but , when compared with home prices for the area as a whole, are deemed attractive by retirees accustomed to luxury living. In the picturesque village of Madison, a proposed new age-restricted community of approximately 130 units now undergoing the approval process is projected to have homes priced from $500,000 to $1,000,000.
Madison is just one of several cities and towns perched on Long Island Sound that is being discovered by retirees. Others, such as Norwalk, Darien and Essex, all are notable for their historic downtown areas and flourishing economies, while offering residents a wealth of natural resources and scenic beauty with ready access to significant cultural opportunities and a high quality of life.
Small villages like Wilton and Westport, both less than an hour from Manhattan, combine the charm and character of quaint New England towns and the convenience of suburban living. In Wilton, in the Norwalk River Valley in southwestern Connecticut, retirement means living in a bucolic setting characterized by rolling, wooded hills, winding country roads, old stone walls, rippling streams and tranquil ponds. Westport, an appealing town of 26,000 mixing seashore and country charm, is notable for its creative arts community, several theaters and a diverse collection of other cultural pursuits, including a nature center, museums and expansive library.
Some retirees are relocating to small towns like Southbury, Niantic and Middlebury to take advantage of affordable home prices in new age-restricted communities. In Oxford, in the southwestern corner of the state, one of the nation's largest developers of retirement housing, Del Webb Communities, is marketing The Village of Oxford Greens, an upscale community with access to a near-by golf course.
For retirees who prefer a more urban environment, Hartford and Bridgeport are two possible choices for retirement destinations. Bridgeport is a medium sized city of 141,000 inhabitants located on the Long Island Sound. With a historic past linked to shipbuilding and whaling, this Fairfield County community is noted for its diverse cultural and recreational facilities. Situated in Connecticut's River Valley, Hartford provides retirees with big city amenities in a quiet New England setting and a variety of housing options. With the University of Connecticut in the nearby suburb of Mansfield and more thirty other institutions of higher learning in the corridor stretching northward toward Springfield, Massachusetts; it is easy to understand the area's reputation as a center of higher education and big city sophistication.
With its scenic beauty, New England rural character and proximity to the metropolitan centers of New York City and Boston, it is easy to understand why so many young, active retirees are selecting Connecticut as their best place to retire.
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