You've heard of Yuppies; now come the Whoppies -- wealthy, healthy, older people.
And come they did to Heritage Hunt, the first "active adult country club community" in Northern Virginia.
Developed by U.S. Homes Corp., Heritage Hunt in Prince William County officially opened Oct. 25. But even before its sales office opened at 10 a.m., there was a line of 28 buyers waiting to select lots and put down $2,500 deposits for homes that, at the earliest, won't be available until next summer.
By the end of the first day, 39 contracts had been written -- and more would have been if U.S. Homes had more salespeople on the job, said Jerrold H. Berman, the firm's regional vice president.
Within its first week of business, U.S. Homes had deposits on more than 71 lots -- with demand evenly split between town houses (priced from $150,000 to $180,000) and detached houses (priced from $200,000 to $250,000).
"The Whoppies obviously have a need for a lifestyle community -- where they can be together with people similar in interests and backgrounds," Berman said.
U.S. Homes is not a newcomer to the senior housing market. The Houston-based builder has designed and developed 20 full-scale retirement and active adult communities, including the 16-year-old Heritage Harbor complex in Annapolis.
But the "active adult community," as these senior housing developments are called, is new for Northern Virginia. A total of 1,950 homes are planned for the 842-acre community. At least one resident in each household must be 55 or older and no children under 18 are permitted to live there permanently.
Berman said that so far buyers have ranged from age 55 to 70, with 60 being the average. Among the top attractions that all buyers mention for moving to Heritage Hunt is its private secured entrance. Also a lure are the home designs -- all for single-story living (second floors are optional) and low maintenance.
About 25 percent of the buyers are coming for the golf course (membership comes with each home purchase) and the other amenities, including tennis courts, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, an exercise room, a boccie and croquet court, a library and two clubhouses. Heritage Hunt also plans to hire a social director. The community is designed for the active, healthy senior; no medical facilities are at the site. It was the security entrance and golf course that attracted Fairfax residents Jerry and Ruth Marcey to Heritage Hunt. They were the first to arrive, at 5:40 a.m., the first day sales opened.
"We had to get a lot we liked," Jerry Marcey said. With his wife having just retired from teaching, the Marceys ("both of us are over 55") were eager to live in an adults-only community, Marcey said. They placed a deposit on a town house, one of the few that will have a walk-out basement. "The house will be larger than what we have now but the lot will be smaller," Marcey said. "The only yard work I like now is on a golf lawn, which someone else maintains."