ROCK HILL -- A subdivision going up near Lake Wylie underscores a trend playing out in York County and South Carolina. The development is aimed at attracting empty-nesters and retirees.
Riverwood is being built just outside the Rock Hill city limits on Mount Gallant Road, next to the Water Edge development, about a half-mile from Lake Wylie. Its main selling point: Each of the 60 homes will be ranch-style.
"The aging population is getting very tired of stairs," said Cynthia Howard, sales associate for Waddell Homes.
The first of America's estimated 78 million baby boomers turned 60 three years ago. One of every five is expected to move to a new state after retirement.
While Riverwood developers say they're looking to tap into that market, the community is not age-restricted. Prices will range from $250,000 to $300,000.
Construction will start this month, with the first homes to be ready by spring. At two-tenths of an acre, the lot sizes are small enough to allow homeowners to cut the grass in five or 10 minutes.
"In a lot of cases, they are folks coming out of larger homes," said project developer Peter Harakas of Gastonia, N.C. "With their children gone, they want to downsize to something a little nicer than what they had, and they want everything on one level."
The development comes amid a dismal time in the homebuilding industry. New housing starts in York County are down by almost half from two years ago. Despite the slowdown, retirees and empty-nesters are still considered a reliable audience.
"The retired folks, they don't want the big houses anymore," Howard said. "This is where they want to plunk their money."