OK Boomer, who’s going to buy your 21 million homes?

In Sun City, Ariz., a place tailored to silver-haired snowbirds, many homes have low-maintenance rock gardens instead of grassy yards. / Cassidy Araiza / Wall Street Journal

By Laura Kusisto and Cassidy Araiza | The Wall Street Journal

When this Phoenix suburb opened on Jan. 1, 1960, it was billed as the original retirement community. From above, it would look like a UFO landing site, laid out in rings to mimic halos surrounding the sun. Just past the entrance, a billboard flanked by rows of palm trees promised “An Active New Way Of Life.”

On the weekend Sun City opened, cars were backed up for 2 miles as some 100,000 visitors waited to gawk at a village built specifically for adults over the age of 50. They found a new nine-hole golf course and a community center with 250-seat auditorium, swimming pool, shuffleboard court and lawn bowling green. Elsewhere there was a 30,000-square-foot Grand Shopping Center, a Safeway grocery store and a Hiway House Motor Hotel, where you could have a cup of coffee or something stronger at the bar. “The finest resort couldn’t supply more,” boasted a fictional resident of Sun City in a promotional video from the period.

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