With a rapidly aging population, many builders are moving into the niche market of active adults. This trend should be a great opportunity for masonry contractors.

One of the nation's fastest growing construction segments is building residential structures for what many pundits call "the active adult buyer" (AAB). AAB is nominally defined as being between the ages of 45 and 59. This market segment, in the next 10 years, will include 14 million people. What does this fact mean for the masonry industry? Masonry contractors working for builders focused on this niche market will find gold in the marketplace.

Roy Wendt, president of Wendt Builders, Atlanta, and designer of Woodberry, an active adult community located in Snellville, Ga., says that AABs really find the traditional value of brick a major purchase deciding point.

AABs prefer communities and dwellings with amenities that complement an active lifestyle and require little time spent in maintenance. Fireplaces are a very common upgrade among the AABs. According to the 1999 American Housing Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, almost half of all new single-family detached homes built by owners between the ages of 55 and 64 have a least one fireplace.