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New Report Uncovers Demographics, Real Estate Preferences, Amenity Priorities, and Research Methods of Lifestyle Community Buyers

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Private Communities Registry (PCR), the trusted online resource for real estate shoppers interested in amenity-rich, master-planned lifestyle communities, has released its 2021 Survey of Homebuyers and Renters Researching Lifestyle Communities Report. This free, 28-page report provides insight into the behavior, motivations, and financial situations of retirees and pre-retirees searching for not just a home—but a lifestyle.

“The annual report provides key market intelligence for builders, developers, clubs, and anyone involved with the planning, development, and marketing of lifestyle communities,” says Ben Keal, PCR’s Director of Sales and Operations. “We administer the survey to better understand the demographics and preferences of lifestyle community buyers as well as where and how they conduct their research—and offer some perspective on what communities can do to capitalize on the information.”

For instance, according to the report, 84% of respondents plan to buy a home within a lifestyle community in two years or less. This not only underscores the long and deliberate sales cycle of lifestyle homebuyers, but demonstrates that homebuyer optimism among this niche market remains strong post-pandemic.

“We’ve always said that the standard buying cycle for the lifestyle buyer typically aged 45-65+ is 18 months. They don’t have the usual journey of getting pre-approved for a house then buying a 3-bedroom 2-bath for a small family,” explains Ben. “These are educated buyers who have likely purchased multiple houses and are now looking for a lifestyle community that ties into their retirement. With the survey results proving a truly extended sales cycle, the importance of communities filling their pipelines and nurturing their leads is stronger than ever.”

Other key findings from the report show that 93% of lifestyle buyers prefer the internet and digital methods to research and request information on a prospective community. Responses also indicated a willingness to spend more on a home in the right community—55% of respondents said they prefer the $250,000-$500,000 range, and those willing to spend $500,000-$1,000,000 on a home went up from just 18% in 2020 to 27% in 2021.

The report also suggests that master-planned communities are perhaps more desirable than ever with fitness, health, and wellness amenities topping the list of must-haves for a vast majority of buyers. Eighty-one percent said “active lifestyle amenities” are the reason they want to live in a community, and they cited swimming pools (73%), walking/biking trails (71%), and fitness centers (65%) as their most-preferred amenities.

“COVID drove people away from cities. The ability to find outdoor resources, exercising and getting out of the house created a premium on things like buying a bike or a kayak…the same thing has occurred within the lifestyle community market. Giving people a little ‘getaway’ within their own house and their own neighborhood has really been a catalyst for the industry,” concludes Ben.

The results of this year’s report analyzed the responses of over 1,500 visitors to PrivateCommunities.com who completed the survey in May of 2021. With more than 1 million annual users, this report represents a small but powerful segment of the data collected by PCR on a daily basis.