Last year Michele Leavelle quit her full-time marketing job, put her 3,600-square-foot Dallas house on the market for $319,000 and began searching for a new smaller home where she hopes to live out her years. “Where I move is where they’ll be carrying me out of,” she declares.
But Leavelle, a vigorous 59-year-old, is hardly looking for some cramped efficiency in a retirement complex. Instead, she’s got her eye on a $245,000, 2,200 square foot home in a subdivision with a pool. She wants plenty of room for her 88-year-old mom, Alene Barbara, who lives with her half of the year. But she no longer wants to be bothered maintaining the four-bedroom home, with its own pool, where she and her late husband raised two daughters. “I’m ready to move on and simplify my life,” Leavelle says. “I just need a place that’s easy to maintain and feel safe and be independent.”
She’s not alone. The housing market might still be uncertain, but pre-retirees and younger retirees are making downsizing plans. In a survey conducted last year for MetLife Mature Market Institute, 11% of those aged 55 to 64 said they planned to buy a different home within the next three years, and 6% had definite plans to buy sometime after that. Another 12% weren’t sure if they’d move.