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Survey: Property taxes, cost of living top concerns for seniors

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Senior citizens like living in Illinois, but many worry about property taxes and housing affordability, according to a survey commissioned by the Illinois Association of REALTORS®. 

The survey of 600 people aged 55 and older showed that two-thirds (66 percent) were deeply or somewhat worried about paying their property taxes. Their qualms about paying property taxes outpaced concerns over saving for retirement and paying for healthcare. 

Still, more than two-thirds (68 percent) said they find the quality of life in Illinois excellent or good and the data suggest that if they had to move 56 percent of them would stay in the state. 

The survey conducted by American Strategies was commissioned to give better understanding of the impact the state’s aging population will have on housing and to prepare the Illinois Association of REALTORS’ members to better serve senior clients. In addition to the survey, the association’s Senior Housing Working Group created a guide for policymakers to refer to when looking to make their communities senior-friendly. 

By 2030, nearly a quarter of the state’s residents are projected to be 60 years old or older, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The growing number of seniors in Illinois will present challenges for communities seeking to enhance livability for older residents, and have broad implications for the state’s housing market. 

“We know that as people age, their housing needs change,” said Dana Hybl, SRES, chair of Illinois REALTORS® Senior Housing Working Group. “This survey shows how important it will be in the next few decades for policymakers and developers to craft communities which provide the right housing choices and services for senior citizens.” 

The wide-ranging survey asked seniors about what they were looking for if they moved, whether they intended to buy or rent in the future and if they planned to downsize. 

Among the findings: 

  • Three-fourths of those polled (76 percent) said they were concerned about the cost of living in Illinois, including 44 percent who said they are very concerned. Yet, 33 percent of respondents said they were very confident they can afford the home they want in the future.
  • Eighty-one percent of seniors surveyed own their homes and 17 percent said they rent. When asked what they would do if they moved, 35 percent of respondents said they would likely rent.
  • One third (34 percent) of respondents said they plan to downsize the amount of living space they have if they move. Thirty-nine percent of women say they plan to downsize, compared with 29 percent of men.
  • Having a main-floor bathroom ranked as one of the most desirable attributes (69 percent) for a home, said the seniors surveyed. They also said a home with minimal maintenance (51 percent), single-floor living space (47 percent) and an attached or underground garage (46 percent) were important factors when choosing a home. 

Underscoring the changes an aging population is having on housing was the finding that nearly one-third (30 percent) of older adults live in multi-generational households. That includes 23 percent who live with their children and 10 percent who live with their grandchildren. 

“The fact that so many families have multiple generations living under one roof shows the need for local officials to make sure that zoning requirements allow the flexibility to accommodate this lifestyle shift,” said Chris Read, SRES, past chair of the Senior Housing Working Group. 

Three-quarters of those surveyed said they are likely to use a realtor on a future home sale, making it important for Illinois REALTORS® to better understand the needs of this group. 

“Often a Realtor is the first person a senior reaches out to when they finally make the decision to sell,” said Jim Kinney, SRES, immediate past president of Illinois REALTORS® who helped establish the Senior Housing Working Group. “Our members want to make sure they are prepared to guide the clients through what for them can be an emotional and confusing time as they consider what makes sense for their abilities and budgets.” 

Illinois REALTORS® represents more than 44,000 professionals engaged in all aspects of the real estate business. Many of the association’s members have taken advanced training in working with elderly homeowners and earned the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation. 

The Senior Market Survey was conducted April 7-12, 2016. The data weighted to ensure an accurate reflection the state’s population. Thirty-six percent of respondents were reached on cellular phones, and the margin of error was +/- four percent. 

Property taxes, cost of living top concerns for Illinois seniors, survey says

 

Senior citizens like living in Illinois, but many worry about property taxes and housing affordability, according to a survey commissioned by the Illinois Association of REALTORS®. 

The survey of 600 people aged 55 and older showed that two-thirds (66 percent) were deeply or somewhat worried about paying their property taxes. Their qualms about paying property taxes outpaced concerns over saving for retirement and paying for healthcare. 

Still, more than two-thirds (68 percent) said they find the quality of life in Illinois excellent or good and the data suggest that if they had to move 56 percent of them would stay in the state. 

The survey conducted by American Strategies was commissioned to give better understanding of the impact the state’s aging population will have on housing and to prepare the Illinois Association of REALTORS’ members to better serve senior clients. In addition to the survey, the association’s Senior Housing Working Group created a guide for policymakers to refer to when looking to make their communities senior-friendly. 

By 2030, nearly a quarter of the state’s residents are projected to be 60 years old or older, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The growing number of seniors in Illinois will present challenges for communities seeking to enhance livability for older residents, and have broad implications for the state’s housing market. 

“We know that as people age, their housing needs change,” said Dana Hybl, SRES, chair of Illinois REALTORS® Senior Housing Working Group. “This survey shows how important it will be in the next few decades for policymakers and developers to craft communities which provide the right housing choices and services for senior citizens.” 

The wide-ranging survey asked seniors about what they were looking for if they moved, whether they intended to buy or rent in the future and if they planned to downsize. 

Among the findings: 

  • Three-fourths of those polled (76 percent) said they were concerned about the cost of living in Illinois, including 44 percent who said they are very concerned. Yet, 33 percent of respondents said they were very confident they can afford the home they want in the future.
  • Eighty-one percent of seniors surveyed own their homes and 17 percent said they rent. When asked what they would do if they moved, 35 percent of respondents said they would likely rent.
  • One third (34 percent) of respondents said they plan to downsize the amount of living space they have if they move. Thirty-nine percent of women say they plan to downsize, compared with 29 percent of men.
  • Having a main-floor bathroom ranked as one of the most desirable attributes (69 percent) for a home, said the seniors surveyed. They also said a home with minimal maintenance (51 percent), single-floor living space (47 percent) and an attached or underground garage (46 percent) were important factors when choosing a home. 

Underscoring the changes an aging population is having on housing was the finding that nearly one-third (30 percent) of older adults live in multi-generational households. That includes 23 percent who live with their children and 10 percent who live with their grandchildren. 

“The fact that so many families have multiple generations living under one roof shows the need for local officials to make sure that zoning requirements allow the flexibility to accommodate this lifestyle shift,” said Chris Read, SRES, past chair of the Senior Housing Working Group. 

Three-quarters of those surveyed said they are likely to use a realtor on a future home sale, making it important for Illinois REALTORS® to better understand the needs of this group. 

“Often a Realtor is the first person a senior reaches out to when they finally make the decision to sell,” said Jim Kinney, SRES, immediate past president of Illinois REALTORS® who helped establish the Senior Housing Working Group. “Our members want to make sure they are prepared to guide the clients through what for them can be an emotional and confusing time as they consider what makes sense for their abilities and budgets.” 

Illinois REALTORS® represents more than 44,000 professionals engaged in all aspects of the real estate business. Many of the association’s members have taken advanced training in working with elderly homeowners and earned the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation. 

The Senior Market Survey was conducted April 7-12, 2016. The data weighted to ensure an accurate reflection the state’s population. Thirty-six percent of respondents were reached on cellular phones, and the margin of error was +/- four percent.