Developers are rapidly switching from age-restricted communities to those that invite a broader range of residents.

Prior to the housing meltdown, communities aimed at people older than 55 were springing up all over. But in the last couple of years, enclaves for the elderly have diminished in popularity and even long-time senior-citizen communities like Sun City Grand in Surprise, Ariz., have expanded access, allowing people ages 45 to 54 in 15 percent of the homes.

Says Meda Cates, Sun City Grand's membership director, As we age, we golf less, we spend less money doing activities, and we also wanted to be perceived as a younger community.