Types of 55+ communities
There is a confusing array of 55+ type communities. Housing in some is age restricted, meaning that only people 55 or over can live there. Spouses or significant others are usually exempt from that rule, while children are often restricted in how long they can live there. Sometimes these restrictions are supported by state law. Occasionally you will also find 50+ or 60+ communities.
Not all active adult communities are age restricted. But regardless, they are clearly meant for people over 50 or 55 and that is who typically lives there in the majority. Active adult communities tend to have more amenities than strictly 55 plus communities. A clubhouse is usually a minimum amenity, while golf courses, tennis courts, marinas, and much more are available at larger active adult communities.
A disadvantage with a lot of 55+ communities is that, due to land scarcity, they tend to be built in remote areas outside of established communities. That means you must drive to get to civilization, or stay within your development.
Many of the nation’s top builders are actively engaged in building 55+ communities. Erickson, Toll Brothers, and Del Webb/Pulte are some of the major players. The Sun City communities of Del Webb were among the first 55+ developments and remain the largest. Sun City was their original community. Many of these communities in the Sunbelt are vast with extensive infrastructure and recreational facilities. Some other big developments include The Villages near Ocala FL, Century Village near Deerfield FL, Laguna Woods in California, and Green Valley in southern Arizona. On the other hand many 55+ communities are quite small – what they lack in amenities is usually made up for by a more intimate setting.