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Empty nesters choose age-qualified neighborhood

Toll Brothers Inc

Gary and Jan Jensen weren't necessarily looking for a house in a community just for older adults, but they liked what they saw when they first toured the Regency at the Woods of South Barrington. The community has its own club house with lots of activities. Lawn maintenance and snow removal is provided by the property developer Toll Brothers.

Gary thinks living in a community with other older adults is an advantage. "We're more likely to meet people in our age group and with a similar lifestyle here," he says. "The community is great."

The community also represents a new trend in housing for those over age 55. The Jensens live in an age-restricted neighborhood that is part of a larger development, the Woods at South Barrington. It has homes for residents of all ages. Gary likes the fact that families with children live nearby.

"We don't feel isolated like we are an island," he says. "We are integrated into the whole development."

Age-restricted neighborhoods that are incorporated into bigger developments are becoming more popular, according to Margaret Wylde, a housing consultant at the ProMatura Group in Oxford, Miss. She predicts the trend will continue. Many homebuyers who are age 55 and older like the benefits of an active adult community, but they also like being adjacent to a whole community where they can see and interact with younger people, Wylde says. "It's the best of both worlds."

Previously, the Jensens had a 5,000-square-foot house in Lake Barrington on 1.5 acres.

"We designed and built that house," says Gary. "We loved it."

But after their two daughters moved away, the place was too big for them. It required a lot of upkeep. They hardly ever went upstairs because they had a first-floor master suite. Taxes and expenses were creeping up. "We had to ask ourselves if this is what we wanted," says Gary.

The couple looked at other developments, but they wanted to stay in the Barrington area where they've lived for the past 24 years. They also both work nearby. Gary runs the Glenview office of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. Jan is an interior designer in Barrington.

The Jensens paid about $640,000 for their 2,400-square-foot house at the Regency at the Woods of South Barrington. The house includes a lot of upgrades, and a view of a pond.

Homes at the development have base prices of $518,000 to $596,000. Home sizes start at about 2,100 square feet, but can be as large as 3,400 square feet. The average time to build a house is eight to 10 months, though some homes can be delivered more quickly, according to Cheryl Molfese, sales manager for Toll Brothers at the development.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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