California Ranks Among Nation's Most Expensive Markets For Active Adult Home Buyers

July 22, 2004

While California remains among the most expensive states for homeowners ages 55 to 74, Pitkin County, Colo., tops the list of U.S. counties with the highest average active adult home values, according to an analysis of 2000 U.S. Census data by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Pitkin County, best known for Aspen and its world-class ski resorts, ranked No. 1 in the nation, with an average home value of $946,036 for the 1,275 homes occupied by active adults.

Pitkin was followed by New York County, N.Y., which had an average home value of $829,631 for its 42,844 homes owned by active adults. Teton County, Wyo., was next with an average home value of $650,526 for its 1,306 homes.

Ten of the top 25 most expensive counties in the country were in California, led by Marin County, Calif., in fourth place (22,212 homes, $616,915 average home value) and San Mateo County, Calif., in fifth (49,245 homes, $570,032 average home value).

In all, 16 counties had average active adult home values of more than $400,000. The averages were computed by dividing the aggregate value of homes owned by the number of homes. Home values are based on owners’ estimates of how much their homes would sell for at the time of the 2000 U.S. Census.

"The highest-priced counties are generally in resort areas near mountains or on islands, where the supply of land is severely limited by geography,” said Bonnie Solomon, chair of the NAHB Seniors Housing Council and a vice president of several retirement communities in St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo., and Atlanta. "The others are in parts of the country known for extremely high housing costs, such as California and New York.”

The chart below shows U.S. counties with the most high-priced active adult communities:

  County Homes Occupied
By Owners
Ages 55-74
Average Dollar
Value of
Homes Owned


Pitkin County, Colo.

 1,275 $946,036


New York County, N.Y.

42,844 $829,631


Teton County, Wyo.

1,306 $650,526


Marin County, Calif.

22,212 $616,915


San Mateo County, Calif.

49,245 $570,032


Blaine County, Idaho

1,610 $563,135


Eagle County, Colo.

 1,754 $557,651


Santa Clara County, Calif. 

96,966 $556,947


San Francisco County, Calif.

35,479 $468,943


San Juan County, Calif.

1,867 $460,011


Santa Cruz County, Calif.

15,367 $452,229


Dukes County, Mass.

 1,409 $451,880


Summit County, Colo.

 1,011 $446,196


Santa Barbara County, Calif.

25,778 $412,658


Fairfield County, Conn.

68,403 $402,814


Westchester County, N.Y.

66,293  $401,859


Monterey County, Calif.

21,266 $390,511


Summit County, Utah

1,639 $390,161


Napa County, Calif.

9,794 $361,977


Honolulu County, Hawaii

54,951 $357,605


Contra Costa, Calif.

68,619 $351,144


Alameda County, Calif.

 80,843 $345,653


Orange County, Calif.

 168,970 $342,763


Alexandria City, Va.

6,821 $341,332


Monroe County, Fla.

8,569 $340,877

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