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Today, the national housing market is still in the beginning stages of what many experts believe is a full-scale recovery from the downturn seen prior to and during the recent recession. Many within the industry say that its continued growth might be spurred largely by baby boomers.

Homebuyers who are at least 55 years old are expected to become a major force in the housing market over the next seven years or so as more baby boomers age and begin looking for new living arrangements in the final years before retirement, or after they stop working. Speaking at a recent conference in Las Vegas, experts from one of the nation's most influential industry groups said that the new focus on those aged 55 and up is a new and important part of the market's continuing recovery through at least 2020.

"We expect to see an increased demand for 55-plus housing as more baby boomers turn 55 and seek homes and communities that offer the lifestyle they desire," said Paul Emrath, Vice President of survey and housing policy research for the National Association of Home Builders. "NAHB is projecting that the number of housing starts in 55-plus communities will increase 22 percent to 74,302 units in 2013 and another 20% to 89,071 in 2014."

In addition to requiring more housing starts, it seems many people in this age group are also now buying existing homes, which is something that wasn't always the case in the past. But part of that shift in boomer habits may come because housing prices are rising significantly once again, and encouraging those who may have been stuck with underwater mortgages to begin listing their homes on the market. And because more boomers are turning 55 every day, experts also believe that this market will only continue to grow in the near future.

When looking into new or existing homes, there may be a few neighborhood features those aged 55 and up favor that others do not. For instance, walking trails and parks have proven rather popular, as have outdoor maintenance services. For the most part, boomers also prefer rural or suburban living.

In general, experts believe that in the next several years, boomers' habits will dictate changes in many industries because of the sheer volume of people who are now approaching their full retirement ages.