Local News

New Cary Developments Target Older Adults

Posted May 18, 2006 10:14 a.m. EDT

— Senior citizens are flocking to North Carolina, which ranks 10th in the nation in residents 65 and older. For years, housing for active seniors was largely ignored. But now, homebuilders are honing in on the trend and older residents love it.

Bunny and Steve Zimmerman come to one Cary neighborhood every single week. Their house isn't even under construction yet, but come October, they'll be among the first to move into Carolina Preserve.

To live in the development, applicants have to be at least 55 years old. But it's no old folks home.

"We have a five-lane, 25-meter indoor heated pool with a spa, state-of-the-art fitness center, and aerobic rooms," said home builder Bob Koscso. "(We) have a Wall Street room, where you can read (The Wall Street Journal.)"

"We are active and we like to do things, and like to do things with people our own age," said Steve Zimmerman.

A lot of seniors feel that way. At the Carolina Preserve sales office, buyers kept coming in droves. They sold 127 houses in just a few weeks.

Neighborhoods like Carolina Preserve have only been popular in the Triangle the past few years. At the corner of High House Road and Davis Drive in Cary, construction of a similar community will start in the fall. Searstone will be built on a 75-acre farm for people 62 and older.

Unlike Carolina Preserve, it will also provide personal health services for residents who need it. The thing they share, however, is carefree living for active seniors.

"They're looking for single-story living. They don't want stairs," said Koscso. "All of your landscaping needs are totally within (housing association) dues."

"We ultimately were looking for a lifestyle, and I think that's exactly what this is," said Steve Zimmerman.

Homes at Carolina Preserve start in the low $180,000s and go up to the mid $300,000s. At Searstone, homes are $350,000 to $900,000.

Those communities will have competition. Active adult communities are also being built in Knightdale, Wake Forest and Fuquay-Varina. The AARP pointed out that there's still a need for more affordable senior housing.