Home builders take aim at the 55-plus crowd

In just four years, roughly one fourth of the U.S. population will be 55 or over -- that translates into some 85 million Americans.

So it is little wonder that home builders are reportedly taking aim at these aging baby boomers in an effort to increase sales at a time of great uncertainty and fiscal pain throughout the real estate market.

"In general, we're seeing very positive response among this buyer group," says Chris Naatz, the Midwest-area director of marketing for Pulte Homes, in an interview with the Dallas Morning News.

There's even an on-line magazine you can buy that is focused on this particular segment of the home buying public.

Back in June of 2009, according to a news release on the website of the National Association of Home Builders, the association's chief economist, David Crowe, said, "A strong and growing number of retirees and empty-nest households are interested in either downsizing or moving to a more user-friendly home -- especially if it's near their existing community."

But he went on to caution that the market conditions, as they existed this past summer, were such that it still presented "significant obstacles" to the 55-plus potential home buyer because of the difficulties in selling their current home.