The Korean Housing Association

Journal Archive

Journal of the Korean Housing Association - Vol. 26 , No. 4

[ Article ]
Journal of the Korean Housing Association - Vol. 26, No. 4, pp.1-10
ISSN: 2234-3571 (Print) 2234-2257 (Online)
Print publication date Aug 2015
Received 27 Mar 2015 Revised 04 Jul 2015 Accepted 13 Jul 2015

Intention to Move, Reasons for Considering Moving, and Future Housing Preferences of Senior Residents Living in Multifamily Housing in the United States
Kwon, Hyun Joo*

미국 아파트 노인거주자의 주거이동 의사, 주거이동 고려이유 및 주거 선호에 관한 연구
*정회원(주저자, 교신저자), 퍼듀대학교 실내디자인학과 조교수
Correspondence to : Hyun Joo Kwon, Ph.D. Interior Design, Dept. of Art and Design, Purdue University, PAO 2196, 552 West Wood St., West Lafayette, IN 47907-2002, USA E-mail:


This study identifies intention to move, reasons for moving and housing preferences of US residents 55 and older living in non-subsidized and market-rate multifamily housing in the United States. Data were collected using an on-line survey; mixed methods were used for data analysis (N=431). Results show that more than half of the respondents intend to move. Senior residents who were younger than average age of the respondents, not married, renters, had no elevator, and reported lower residential satisfaction with their housing unit, multifamily housing community and local area were more likely to intend to move. Seven reasons for considering moving were found: finance, health, lifecycle stage, housing unit, multifamily housing community, other. When asked about their future housing, more than 80% desired independent living rather than assisted living facilities or nursing homes, 40% wanted to live in multifamily housing, and 51% hoped to own their housing rather than renting. The findings offer meaningful information to the multifamily housing industry in the United States and in countries where the population is aging and where multifamily housing is the predominant housing type.

Keywords: Intention to Move, Reasons for Considering Moving, Future Housing Preferences, US Senior Residents, Multifamily Housing
키워드: 주거이동 의사, 주거이동 고려이유, 주거 선호, 미국노인, 공동주택

I. Introduction
I. Background and purpose

Moving is an important decision, especially for older adults who are living with special challenges and circumstances. Most of older adults experience declines in health status, changes in their career patterns, and changes in their family structure (van Vliet, 1998). On the other hand, they may have ample time to enjoy leisure and to spend with their family/ friends compared to their younger age.

As people grow older, their housing needs change. Incongruence between housing needs and their residential situation can cause residential dissatisfaction and a desire to alter their residential environment (Lawton & Nahemow, 1973; Morris & Winter, 1979; Wiseman, 1980). Even though most of older adults desire aging in place, it is predicted that a significant number of senior residents will eventually search for new housing (Haughey, 2003; Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, 2010).

Researchers assert that multifamily housing (i.e., an apartment or condominium) can be appealing for older adults. Recently, multifamily housing outside of the United States has started to provide many services and amenities. Multifamily housing, the second most common housing type in the United States, provides services and amenities which could be unaffordable or unavailable in most single-family detached housing. Multifamily housing tends to be in closer proximity to local serrvices because it is a denser housing type. Such features may be beneficial for senior residents who want to downsize, to avoid performing their own home maintenance, and who want to enjoy amenities at an affordable price (Urban Land Institute, 1991; Haughey, 2003; Kwon & Beamish, 2014). However, there are few studies of senior residents living in multifamily housing in the United States. Those that do, focus on low-income people.

The purpose of this study is to identify intention to move, reasons for considering moving and future housing preferences of senior residents living in market-rate multifamily housing in the United States. The results of this study are expected to provide useful information to multifamily housing industry, to designers of senior housing communities in the United States and in other countries where multifamily housing is a dominant housing type.

2. Research questions

The intensive literature and past research review identified the three research questions that directed this study. How do the demographic and housing characteristics of senior residents living in multifamily housing who intend to move compare to the characteristics of those who do not? What reasons do senior residents living in multifamily housing give when they consider moving? What are the future housing preferences of senior residents living in multifamily housing who are considering a move?

II. Literature Review
1. US multifamily housing

In the United States, multifamily housing consists of more than four housing units (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1991). This is the second most popular housing type, accounting for 17% of the homes in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011a). The term “multifamily housing” refers to structure, not tenure. In the United States, a rented unit in a multifamily structure is an “apartment,” and apartments account for 90% of the all multifamily housing (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011b). A condominium is a purchased unit in a multifamily structure. Compared to a single-family detached home, multifamily housing generally has smaller size of units, provides services and amenities, and tends to be located near local services (U.S. Green Building Council, 2009; Skobba, 2012).

In the United States, single-family housing has been long recognized as a norm and multifamily housing has been a housing option for people with lower income. Recently high-end multifamily housing increasingly has developed and more people are aware of multifamily housing as an attractive housing option, especially for the aging population (Skobba, 2012; National Multi Housing Council, 2013). The benefits of multifamily housing include various service and amenities such as 24-hour maintenance service, package custody, community center, pools and fitness center, which may be unaffordable or unavailable to residents of single-family housing (Haughey, 2003; Bach, 2006).

2. Senior residents’ reasons for moving

Demographic characteristics, housing characteristics, lifecycle, lifestyle, and residential satisfaction are factors in the senior residents’ decision to move. Pope and Kang (2010), in examining proactive and reactive groups of elderly people who were moving, found that older people with a higher education and a larger income, and in better health, are more like to be self-motivated movers. Junk and Anderson’s (1993) study of 5,662 pre-retirees age 40 and older at nine land grant universities, found that more than 18% of respondents were very likely to move from their current house, and slightly more than 23% were somewhat likely to move from their current community upon retirement. According to Kim, Lee and Yoon’s (2010) study, the most important reason for moving of Korean baby boomers was seeking better residential environment for their later life, followed by changing in financial status and becoming empty nesters.

Younger adults and older adults have substantially different reasons for moving. Younger adults’ moves tend to be related to life course events such as getting married, having a child or changing jobs (Schachter & U.S. Census Bureau, 2004). However, senior residents’ moving may be related to their age-based lifecycle stages (e.g., retirement or death of a spouse), critical life events (e.g., retirement, death of a spouse, illness or injury), declining financial and health status, or changing preferred lifestyle (e.g., more leisure time).

Several researchers have developed typologies and models to explain senior residents’ reasons for moving and their moving patterns. Wiseman and Roseman (1979) defined six types of elderly migration and explained the decision maker, differentials, reasons for moving, search space, and housing outcomes of each type <Table 1>. Wiseman (1980) described older adults’ relocation as comprising three sequences of decision making behavior: “the decision to move, the decision of where to move, and the decisions about housing unit type and living arrangements” (p. 146). In his theoretical model of elderly migration, he introduced five categories of reasons for moving: 1) triggering mechanisms (change life cycle stage, age related losses and critical events, environmental incongruence, change in preferred lifestyle, forced movement), 2) push factors (independence loss, loss of spouse, environmental stress), 3) pull factors (retirement amenities, relocated friendship and/or kinship networks, successful relocation by friends, environmental amenities), 4) indigenous factors (personal resources, former migration experience, community ties, perception of likely outcomes), and 5) exogenous factors (housing market, cost of living, attrition or movement of social network).

Many empirical studies in Asia, Europe and the United States have confirmed that residential satisfaction is one of the most significant determinants of moving (Erickson, Jrout, Ewen, & Robison, 2006; Diaz-Serrano & Stoyanova, 2010; Kim, Lee, & Yoon, 2010; Lu, 2012). Diminished residential satisfaction leads residents to modify or move from their homes (Morris & Winter, 1975, 1978). Residential satisfaction is related to categories such as housing norm, price, homeownership and housing quality (Hwang & Ziebarth, 2006; Liu & Crull, 2006). Residential satisfaction includes easy access to local services such as shopping centers and doctors’ offices (Leslie & Cerin, 2008; Van Dyck, Cardon, Deforche, & De Bourdeaudhuij, 2011). Residents’ satisfaction with multifamily housing community is based on the quality of management service, physical amenities and quality of neighborhood (Prosper, 2004; Paris & Kangari, 2005).

Table 1. 
Typology of Elderly Migration
Type Decision Maker Differentials
(Who Moves)
Reasons for Moving Search Space Housing Outcomes
Local Moves
Suburbanization & Exurbanization Mover Pre-retirement Middle & Upper Income, Younger Couples Housing & Neighborhood Environment Suburban area Home Ownership
Inner City Relocation Mover; Govt. Bodies Lower Income Stress; Forced Limited; Short Distance Rental Home or Apartment
Apartmentalization Mover Middle & Upper Income Changing Space & Maintenance Needs Entire Urban Area Apartment; Condominium
Communalization Mover Singles, Older Need for Socialization; Limited Assistance Limited to a Few Specific Places High Density Communal
Homes of Kin Mover & Family Singles, Older Need for Limited Care; Loss of Spouse Very Limited Family Home
Institutionalization Family; Social Worker; Doctor Singles, Older Need for Personal Care Limited to Specific Opportunities Institution
Amenity Area Mover Retirees, Couples, Middle & Upper Incomes Retirement; Amenity Environment Formed by Vacation Experience & Migration Experience of Others All Types Except Institution
Return Mover Retirees, Middle & Lower Income Retirement; Importance of Home Formed by Previous Residential Experience Family Home; Apartment; Institution
Kinship Mover & Family Singles, Older Need for Limited Care; Loss of Spouse Locations of Family Members Family Home; Apartment; Institution
Note. Reused from “A typology of elderly migration based on the decision making process,” by R. F. Wiseman and C. C. Roseman, 1979, Economic Geography, 55(4), p. 332. Copyright by Wiley Publication.

III. Methods
1. Data and sample

This study used a combination of quantitative and qualitative data. The target population was people aged 55 and over living in non-subsidized and market-rate multifamily housing (i.e., renters and homeowners) in the United States. For data collection, this study used convenience sampling and an online survey administered by Survey Monkey in February, 2012. The on-line survey company has more than three million potential participants in the United States. They distributed the survey questionnaire via email to their panels who were aged 55 and over living in the United States. Initially, 4,096 people started the survey and 3,665 were screened out by questions about their age and housing type. Finally, 431 usable surveys were analyzed.

2. Instrument

A self-administered questionnaire was developed for this study. As <Table 2>.shows, demographic characteristics include age, gender, education, household income, health status, marital status, employment status and number of household. Housing characteristics consist of tenure type, structure size, monthly housing cost, geographical location, and presence of an elevator.

Residential satisfaction with housing unit, multifamily housing community, and local area were measured using a single item for each. Intention to move was measured using single item. Future housing preferences include three categories (amount of assistance, structure type and tenure type).

1) Quantitative Analysis

Descriptive statistics were used to depict demographic and housing characteristics, and future housing preferences. Chisquare test of independence was used to compare demographic and housing characteristics and three types of residential of respondents who do and do not intend to move as a reference group. A significance level of p<0.05 was used.

2) Qualitative Analysis

To identify their reasons for moving, participants who agreed or strongly agreed with a statement “I might consider moving from my current home in the future” were asked to answer an open-ended question: “what would be your main reasons for deciding to move?” Participants were asked to respond in an on-line survey. The textual information was analyzed using content analysis.

Table 2. 
Instrument Structure
Questionnaire Measurement
Demographic characteristics
   Age, gender, education, household income, health status, marital status, employment status, number of household
Housing characteristics
   Tenure type, structure size, monthly housing cost, geographical location, presence of an elevator
Residential Satisfaction
   Satisfaction with housing unit, multifamily housing community, and local area
(5 Likert scale)
Intention to move Continuous (5 Likert scale)
Reasons for considering moving Open-end
Future housing preference
   Assistance level, structure type, tenure type

IV. Results
1. Overview of respondents

As <Table 3>.shows, about 44% of the respondents were 55 to 64 years old, 29% were 65 to 74 years old, and about 27% were 75 years old and over. Almost half of the respondents were male and the rest were female. Seventeen percent had high school diploma or less, about 33% had technical school/ some college, 32% had a bachelor’s degree and 18% had at least a master’s degree. In terms of annual income, 23% earned less than $25,000, 34% earned $25,000 to $49,999, 23.4% earned $50,000 to $74,999, and 19.5% earned $75,000 or more. For health status, 7.7% reported very poor or poor health status, 26.9% reported that it was fair, and 65.4% reported that their health was good or very good. Regarding marital status, 37.8% were married, 14.8% were widowed, 29.7% were divorced or separated, and 17.6% were never married. About 35% were employed and 65% were not. About 49% were single-person household, 46% were two-person households, and 5% had three people or more in their household.

One-third of residents were homeowners and two-thirds were renters. One-third lived in a one-bedroom housing unit, slightly over than 50% had two bedrooms, and 15% had more than three bedrooms. Twelve percent paid less than $500 per month for housing, 46% paid $500 to $999, 22% paid $1,000 to 1,499, and 19% paid $1,500 or more. About 25% lived in a rural area, 55% lived in a suburban area, and 20% lived in an urban area. Almost 29% of the respondents had an elevator in their multifamily building and 71% did not.

Table 3. 
Demographic and Housing Characteristics (N=431)
Variables n %
Demographic characteristics
55 to 64 years 189 43.9
65 to 74 years 126 29.2
75 years or over 116 26.9
Male 215 49.9
Female 216 50.1
High school diploma or less 74 17.2
Technical school/some college degree 141 32.7
Bachelor's degree 137 31.8
Master's degree or higher 79 18.3
Household income a
Less than $25,000 99 23.0
$25,000 to $49,999 147 34.1
$50,000 to $74,999 101 23.4
$75,000 or above 84 19.5
Health status
Very poor or poor 33 7.7
Fair 116 26.9
Good or very good 282 65.4
Marital status
Married 163 37.8
Widowed 64 14.8
Divorced or separated 128 29.7
Never married 76 17.6
Employment status
Employed 150 34.8
Not employed 281 65.2
Number of households
1 210 48.7
2 198 45.9
3 or over 23 5.3
Housing characteristics
Tenure type
Owned 145 33.6
Rented 286 66.4
Structure size (bedroom #)
1 143 33.2
2 223 51.7
3 or over 65 15.1
Monthly housing cost
Less than $500 53 12.3
$500 to $999 199 46.2
$1,000 to $1,499 96 22.3
$1,500 or over 83 19.3
Geographical location
Rural 107 24.8
Suburban 239 55.5
Urban 85 19.7
Presence of an elevator
Yes 124 28.8
No 307 71.2

2. Intention to move

<Table 4>.contains the descriptive statistics of intention to move. Among 431 respondents, 10.2% strongly disagreed, 12.5% disagreed, 25.3% neither disagreed nor agreed, 35.5% agreed, and 16.7% strongly agreed with the statement “I might consider moving from my current home in the future.” For further analysis to identify demographic and housing characteristics, and residential satisfaction of respondents who intend to move compared to not intend to move, only respondents who strongly disagreed or disagreed (22.7%) and those who strongly agreed or agreed (52%) with the statement were used (n=322). Respondents who choose neither disagree nor agree were excluded (n= 109). Mean score of intention to move was 3.36 out of 5.0 (SD=1.196).

Table 4. 
Intention to Move (N=431)
n %
I might consider moving from my current home in the future.
1. Strongly disagree 44 10.2
2. Disagree 54 12.5
3. Neither disagree nor agree 109 25.3
4. Agree 152 35.3
5. Strongly agree 72 16.7
M=3.36 SD=1.196

3. Demographic and housing characteristics of respondents who intend to move compared to not intend to move

As <Table 5>.shows, senior residents who intend to move were younger than those who did not intend to move; 36.7% of respondents who do not intend to move and 51.3% of those who did were 55 to 64 years old. In terms of marital status, almost 55% of respondents who intend to move were divorced or separated, or never married compared to less than 35% who had no intention to move. Furthermore, only 9.4% of respondents who intend to move were widowed compared to 24.5% of those who do not intend to move. Regarding tenure type, 72.3% of respondents who intend to move were renters compared to 54.1% of respondents who did not intend to move. A larger percentage of respondents (77.2%) who intended to move did not have an elevator in their buildings than of respondents who did not intend to move (58.2%).

In terms of residential satisfaction of respondents who do and do not intend to move, respondents who intend to move reported lower residential satisfaction with housing unit scores (M=3.63) than those who do not intend to move (M=4.41). For residential satisfaction multifamily housing, respondent who intend to move showed lower scores (M=3.54) than senior residents with no intention to move (M=4.24). Regarding residential satisfaction with local areas, respondents with intention to move reported lower scores (M=3.97) than those who do not intend to move (M=4.48).

Table 5. 
Demographic and Housing Characteristics, and Residential Satisfaction of Senior Residents who not Intention to Move Comparison to those who Intention to Move (n=322)
Variables Not Intention to Move (n=98) Intention to Move (n=224) Point Estimate (χ2)
Demographic characteristics
Age 12.751**
55 to 64 years 36.7% 51.3%
65 to 74 years 24.5% 28.6%
75 years or over 38.8% 20.1%
Gender .049
Male 50.0% 48.7%
Female 50.0% 51.3%
Education 1.498
High school diploma or less 16.3% 16.5%
Technical school/some college 36.7% 30.4%
Bachelor's degree 26.5% 31.7%
Master's degree or higher 20.4% 21.4%
Household income 2.662
Less than $25,000 19.4% 25.0%
$25,000 to $49,999 34.7% 32.1%
$50,000 to $74,999 20.4% 23.7%
$75,000 or above 25.5% 19.2%
Health status 1.342
Very poor or poor 6.1% 8.9%
Fair 23.5% 26.8%
Good or very good 70.4% 64.3%
Marital status 17.654**
Married 40.8% 36.2%
Widowed 24.5% 9.4%
Divorced or separated 25.5% 35.7%
Never married 9.2% 18.8%
Employment status
Employed 32.7%% 67.3%
Not employed 38.4% 61.6%
Number of households
1 50.0% 47.8%
2 48.0% 45.5%
3 or over 2.0% 6.7%
Housing characteristics
Tenure type
Owned 45.9% 27.7%
Rented 54.1% 72.3%
Structure size (bedroom #)
1 26.8% 34.8%
2 62.2% 48.2%
3 or above 11.2% 17.0%
Monthly housing cost
Less than $500 17.3% 10.7%
$500 to $999 40.8% 49.1%
$1,000 to $1,499 20.4% 23.2%
$1,500 or over 21.4% 17.0%
Geographical location
Rural 22.4% 26.8%
Suburban 60.2% 50.9%
Urban 17.3% 22.3%
Yes 41.8% 22.8%
No 58.2% 77.2%
Residential Satisfactiona,b M M t-value
Housing unit 4.41 3.63 7.456**
Multifamily housing community 4.24 3.54 6.522**
Local area 4.48 3.97 5.096**
*p< .05,
**p< .01
Note. Percentages mean total respondents in each of intention groups.
aScale: 5=very satisfied, 1=very dissatisfied
bResidential satisfaction items were compared using t-test.

4. Reasons for intention to move

Respondents who strongly agreed or agreed with the statement “I might consider moving from my current home in the future” were asked an open-end question to explain their main reasons for considering moving (n=244). Key words of each response were analyzed using content analysis. As <Table 6>.shows, 321 key words were classified under the themes such as finance, health, lifecycle stage, amenity, housing unit, and multifamily housing community.

1) Finance

The most frequently mentioned reasons for moving were financial. Respondents concerned about their limited income compared to their younger age. They wanted an affordable home in an affordable area.

“I am looking for less expensive home and area that I would like to live in. Money has a lot to do with this thought, since not much comes in anymore.”
“I’m retiring soon and I don't own a home so I have to find a place to live the rest of my life that will be cheap but livable. The cost of rent will increase over the years and I have to live within my income.”

2) Health

The second most frequently mentioned reasons for intention to move pertained to health. Activities for daily living seemed harder for older adults. However, they desired to remain independent as long as they were able to take care of themselves.

“Due to age we are not able to perform chores as we did when we were younger. Husband's back problems will not allow him to be as mobile as in the past. I'm tired of cleaning/cooking constantly.”
“I am not ready to move, would only move if my health failed and I could no longer live alone. I am hoping that that is a loooooooong time from now!”
“If I could no longer manage to take care of myself or become physically or mentally disabled, I would need to move.”

Because of declining health, respondents considered moving and looked for somebody they could depend on if they were no longer able to take care of themselves. Some wanted to move close to their family/friends, and others looked for senior housing communities with professional care services.

“I have no family or friends here that I can depend on.”
“I want to be closer to children if I developed any type of health problems.”
“The main reason would be our ages, so we would be interested in an apartment community with medical services on the property, and services such as food service, etc.”

Table 6. 
Intention to Move (N=431)
Reasons for Intention to Move in the Future na
Housing cost 48
Living cost in the area 8
Declining health 26
Impossible independent living 3
Age-related amenities/services 6
Close to family for need for care 20
Lifecycle stage
Retirement 11
Close to grandchildren 5
Loss of spouse 3
Empty nester 2
Better climate 15
Less busy area 6
Close to nature 5
Proximity to local amenities (e.g., hospital, shopping, etc.) 3
Public transportation 2
Amenities/services for active later life 4
Housing unit
Larger housing unit 22
Down size 5
Lack of storage 11
Quality of building, materials/finishes, or appliances 16
Heating system/insulation 5
Noise and privacy 12
Washer/dryer in a housing unit 4
Moving to a single-family home 7
Homeownership 4
Multifamily housing community
No steps or elevator 11
Management service 9
Amenities 6
Safety and security 5
Parking 4
Pet policy 3
Neighborhood 11
Quality of community/building exterior design 2
Seeking employment / job relocation 7
Close to friends for socialization 4
Return to childhood home 4
aNumber of key words mentioned for the open-end question

3) Lifecycle Stage

Senior residents considered moving because of age-related changes such as becoming an empty nester, retirement and loss of spouse. Some respondents plan to move closer to their children in order to take care of their grandchildren.

“Though my current situation is fine, if an emergency pertaining to my younger family demanded it, I'd give it consideration.”

4) Amenity

Respondents considered moving to enjoy their later life in an area with warmer climate. Senior residents wanted less snow or rain. They wanted to live in a quieter area that was close to nature areas but that also had public transportation and was near medical and shopping centers. Some respondents were seeking senior housing community with amenities and services so that they could remain active later in life.

“I want to get away from the horrible cold winters.”
“I am so ready to live in the woods rather than in the city!”
“A less busy street and closer to other things like grocery and etc.”
“I would consider moving if I could find a place that is closer to doctor.”

5) Housing Unit

Senior residents intended to move if their housing unit no longer met their needs. Those who wanted a larger unit were most interested in having more storage space. Few respondents wanted to downsize. Respondents mentioned the quality of the unit’s materials, finishes and appliances. Senior residents wanted a balcony or terrace, and a washer/dryer in their unit instead of in a public space. Some respondents were not satisfied with heating system or insulation, and were concerned with noise and protecting their privacy.

“There is a lack of storage, kitchen space and appliances are bottom of the line.”
“I want to have washer and dryer in apartment not in a laundry room.”
“I want to move because of shoddy construction materials used; lack of insulation; lack of sound proofing; inefficient windows; inefficient HVAC [heating, ventilation and air conditioning].”
“I don’t like noise from the upstairs apartment.”

Senior residents wanted to own their home. Some wanted to purchase a condominium and others desired to own a detached house.

“The main and only reason for moving would be to purchase our own condo.”
“I want to purchase my own home which would be a house.”

6) Multifamily Housing Community

Senior residents seem to have difficulties with using stairs to enter their housing unit. They wanted either no steps or an elevator. Management services and amenities were important reasons for some senior residents who were considering a move. They wanted better property management services including maintenance, safety and security, and proper pet policy. In terms of amenities, senior residents mentioned parking lots, swimming pools and fitness centers.

“A clerk in the resident services [for maintenance requests] can be extremely rude.”
“The lack of response to residents needs by the management and their unprofessional behavior.”
“Management will not renew my lease because I have a cat.”
“Dogs are allowed and there are concerns about cleanliness and proper disposal of dog excrement.”

Some respondents wanted to move because the quality of their neighborhood was declining.

“I am dissatisfied with new tenants moving into building who feel that they do not have to observe the rules and regulations.”
“I moved into what is called a ‘condominium’ complex thinking it would be inhabited by young professionals and families only to find out, once it was fully complete, it is mostly rented to college students.

7) Others

A few respondents were employed and intended to move closer to their job. Other reasons include moving to be close to friends or return to a childhood home.

“Over into Scottsdale to be closer to friends and people that would speak to you.”

5. Future housing preferences

<Table 7>.shows future housing preferences of respondents who may consider moving. More than 83% of the respondents desire independent living. Thirteen percent of those who desire independent living prefer to have housekeeping services. Only 3.6% of the respondents preferred to live in an assisted living facility and 13% chose a nursing home. Almost 40% of the respondents prefer multifamily housing. More than half of the participants desired to own their home.

Table 7. 
Future Housing Preferences (n=244)
Variables n %
Amount of Assistance
No assistance/independent living 157 70.4%
Housekeeping/independent living 29 13.0%
Assisted living facilities 8 3.6%
Nursing home 29 13.0%
Structure type
Single-family housing 78 34.8%
Multifamily housing 86 38.4%
Others 20 8.9%
Don’t know 40 17.9%
Tenure type
Owning 124 51.0%
Renting 108 44.4%
Others 12 4.6%

V. Conclusions and Implications

This study identified intention to move, reasons for considering moving, and future housing preferences of senior residents living in multifamily housing in the United States. The results show that 52% of the respondents intend to move in the future. Several demographic and housing characteristics influence these senior residents’ intention to move: age, marital status, tenure type, and presence or absence of an elevator. Relatively younger senior residents were more likely to report an intention to move. Respondents who were divorced, separated, or never married were more likely to intend to move than those who were married or widowed. The findings support a previous study that senior residents who are not married are more likely to relocate especially when they experience worsening health or loss of a job (Calvo, Haverstick, & Zhivan, 2009). Apartment renters were more likely to intend to move than condominium owners. Renters may have more freedom to move than homeowners who may need to sell their home. Lastly, in line with a previous study of physical housing features and aging in place (Safran-Norton, 2010) the presence of an elevator was an important determinant of intention to move among senior residents living in multifamily housing. Residential satisfaction with local was the most important determinant of intention to move, followed by residential satisfaction with multifamily housing unit and satisfaction with the multifamily housing community among residents who intend to move.

According to the qualitative data, there are seven reasons that make senior residents consider moving: finances, health, lifecycle stage, quality of housing unit, multifamily housing community, and others. Declining financial and health status were the most frequently mentioned of these reasons. Respondents considered moving if they can no longer afford their housing unit or cannot take care of themselves because of worsening health. However, many respondents wanted to continue independent living as long as possible until they are unable to take care of themselves. Some respondents considered moving because of changes in their family structure and to take care of their grandchildren. As senior residents have more time on their hands than previously, some of them wanted to live in an area with a milder climate with better access to local services and amenities. Quality of housing unit and multifamily housing community were important reasons for considering moving. Lastly, a few respondents considered moving to seek a new job or to go back to a childhood home.

In terms of the future housing preferences of respondents who intend to move, the vast majority of them wanted to live independently. Thirteen percent of the respondents who choose a nursing home seemed to still desire independent living and would move into a nursing home only when they were no longer able to take care themselves. More than half of the respondents wanted to own their future home. Senior residents who rent their housing were concerned about rent increases.

The results of this study offer several insights into about multifamily housing options for senior residents particularly for many Asian countries such as Korea where multifamily housing is the majority housing type and experience increase in aging population.

First, multifamily housing developers and policy makers need to consider a variety of housing options such as spacious and up-scaled housing units, and small affordable housing units. As this study confirmed, senior residents living in multifamily housing had different reasons and housing expectations for their future housing. They also need to consider the proximity to local medical services, shopping centers, restaurants, and public transportation.

Second, Multifamily housing property managers need to consider services and amenities targeting senior residents. As this study confirmed, most of the participants desired independent living even if they intend to move. Moreover, multifamily housing community services and amenities was one of the important reasons for residents to consider moving. Multifamily housing community services and amenities considering senior residents may contribute senior residents’ quality of life and prolong independent living.

Third, multifamily housing designers need to consider a wide range of accessible designs to accommodate the growth in the aging population. This study confirmed that storage is important for senior residents. Each housing unit needs to include enough storage and multifamily housing community can provide extra storage outside of housing unit. Participants mentioned that good insulation and an inexpensive heating system are important. It is important not only for indoor air quality but also for affordable utility costs.

VI. Limitations and Future Study

This study collected data using an on-line survey company. Since all participants were affiliated with the company and were Internet users, they might have higher education level and income, be more homeowners. Therefore, the results of this study cannot be generalized to all US population.

In the future, it is needed to be studied why senior residents who are currently living in single-family detached housing are planning to move in multifamily housing in the future, and what their socio-demographic and housing characteristics are. It will be helpful to understand their housing expectations and needs regarding multifamily housing which is the second dominant housing type in the United States. This study will provide insights into benefits of multifamily housing living and challenges of single-family detached housing living for senior residents.


본 연구는 권현주(2012)의 박사학위 논문의 일부를 수정·보완하였음.

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