Experts Say Community Amenities and Lifestyle Programs Drive Home Buying Decision
Homebuyers are motivated to buy a new home and move to a new community for a wide variety of reasons – perhaps a desire to downsize, upsize, relocate closer to family and friends, or enhance their quality of life. And when it comes to which new home and community to choose, there are nearly as many variables to consider, such as cost of living, location, layout and the quality of the community association and professional management company, to name a few. But while those factors will always be important, there are two additional considerations that, for many people, are even more compelling – community amenities and programs for lifestyle communities.
“More and more, lifestyle has become the driving factor in the home buying decision. In fact, a robust community amenity program adds so much value that it can compensate for a less desirable location, floorplan or other factors,” says Rick Perkins, Senior Vice President, Lifestyle, at FirstService Residential, one of the country’s leading managers of lifestyle communities.
New community developers and homebuilders are certainly aware of the significant influence of lifestyle on the purchase decision. As homebuyers of all ages – from young couples to active older adults – are living longer and increasing their commitment to fitness, health and wellness, developers and builders are responding by creating lifestyle communities offering cutting edge amenities and innovative programs that appeal to their target demographic.
In fact, lifestyle has become such a primary focus that many communities are hiring on-site Lifestyle Directors to plan and implement a wide range of community-wide events, club activities, classes and other programs. Often, homeowner committees and other resident volunteers are also involved with programming to help promote ownership, participation and support.
When planning amenities, however, it’s important to keep costs in mind. According to Judy Julison, Senior Vice President of Lifestyle Programming at FirstService Residential, lifestyle communities must balance how their offerings may impact home costs and association operating budgets to maintain value and affordability.
Historically, some of the more conventional amenities available at lifestyle properties, such as swimming pools, tennis courts, social lounges, workout areas and golf courses are still considered desirable to most homebuyers, and probably always will be. But at many of today’s lifestyle communities, you’ll also find new and contemporary trends in amenities, services and programs – a tailored mix designed to appeal to the growing number of lifestyle-oriented and health-conscious homebuyers of all ages who seek ways to make their lives easier and more enjoyable. Consequently, to attract both Boomers and today’s more youthful older adults, adult and age-targeted properties must deliver what their target buyers are looking for.
“Increasingly, communities are offering a combination of amenities and programs that cater to the broad diversity of interests and contemporary lifestyle preferences,” says Julison. “Providing residents and prospective homebuyers with opportunities to have fun, connect with others who share similar interests, and stay happy, healthy and engaged are key objectives for many of today’s communities. That’s what sets these communities apart and creates very special living experiences for current and future homeowners.”
So if you’re thinking about moving to a new community, you’re probably already looking beyond location and layout to the third “L” – lifestyle. Indeed, as homebuyers of all ages continue to live longer, healthier and more active lives, developers and builders are responding by creating lifestyle communities with amenities, programs and services that align with their interests and needs. For more information on lifestyle communities including programs and amenities, visit FirstService Residential.