Many homeowners in their 60s and beyond look to active-adult communities for a place to find community, activity, and an attractive downsized home post-retirement. But those who'd rather not deal with homeowner responsibilities—maintenance, taxes—are looking toward renting options. Offering rentals rather than buying options works well for financial and lifestyle reasons. One active-adult community consultant says the average active adult renter is a divorced or widowed woman in her mid-70s who wants to be close to family. But many active adults get priced out of communities, especially in retirement-friendly states such as Arizona and Florida, according to the Washington Post.
Rental homes in active-adult communities are a relatively new segment for many developers, says Scott Burman, principal and construction president of Engel Burman, a real estate developer, owner and manager of a variety of senior housing options in New York, New Jersey and Florida.
“We’re building 800 rentals in four Sutton Landing buildings in New York, with 200 units in each location,” says Burman. “We know there’s demand for luxury rentals in active-adult communities, but we’re also doing this now because we’ve seen a paradigm shift in attitudes about rental housing. Seven to 10 years ago, we couldn’t have built these communities. There was community and government resistance to rental housing because it was considered transient.”
At Coastal Run, a new section of single-family homes at Heritage Shores, an active-adult community in Bridgeville, Del., leased homes were first offered in June 2020.
“We realized that not everyone wants to buy a home, but that renting typically required downsizing into an apartment,” says Bob Turner, director of residential properties for Allen and Rocks, a developer and operator of apartments working with Brookfield Residential, the developer of Heritage Shores. “We offer single-family homes with two or three bedrooms, a two-car garage, and a two-car driveway, so they get the flexibility of leasing but don’t have to downsize as much.”
One section of the community includes only rentals, and there are another 15 to 20 such units interspersed in Heritage Shores. The homes are the same models as the for-sale properties in the development and range from 1,300 square feet to as large as 2,600 square feet with an optional loft. Most include a screened porch. Rents range from $2,600 to $3,500 per month and include access to all recreational amenities.