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Illinois Realtors survey outlines Chicagoland seniors’ top housing concerns

by Rachel Popa

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A study commissioned by Illinois Realtors found that while seniors are concerned about the cost of living in Illinois, they are confident about their ability to afford to rent or buy a new home.

The study polled 600 seniors aged 55 and older in order to explore their concerns about the housing market and to better prepare the association’s members to serve senior clients better.

“We know that as people age, their housing needs change,” said Realtor Dana Hybl, 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.”

Seniors are concerned about cost of living, are looking to downsize

The survey found that seniors have other housing concerns besides their ability to pay property taxes. Here are some other key findings from the survey:

  • Seniors are confident they can afford the home they want in the future, despite 76 percent of those polled saying they were concerned about the cost of living in Illinois, including 44 percent saying they were very concerned.
  • According to the survey, 81 percent of seniors own their homes, and 17 percent said they rent. Thirty-five percent said they would rent if they moved.
  • The seniors surveyed said having a home with minimal maintenance (51 percent), single-floor living space (47 percent), and an attached garage (46 percent) were important factors when choosing a home. Having a main-floor bathroom was also a desirable attribute, with 69 percent of those surveyed listing it as such.
  • One-third (34 percent) of those surveyed said they want to downsize the amount of living space they have if they move. Twenty-nine percent of men said they plan to downsize, and 39 percent of women said they plan to downsize.

Older adults are living in multi-generational households

The survey also found that 30 percent of older adults live in multi-generational households, including 23 percent who live with their children and 10 percent who live with their grandchildren.

Additionally, 68 percent of those surveyed said they found the quality of life in Illinois to be excellent or good, and that if they had to move, 56 percent said they would choose to stay in the state.

“Often a Realtor is the first person a senior reaches out to when they finally make the decision to sell,” said Realtor Jim Kinney, a 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.”

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