Property managers can benefit from senior housing

Property managers can benefit from senior housing

Want to stand out from your competition and gain an edge in a niche that is growing? You may want to look at the senior housing market.

In a recent survey by Lancaster Pollard, a firm that specializes in senior housing development, 75% senior housing executives said they were “extremely” or “somewhat” likely to pursue a construction project within one year. Even though rising construction costs have begun to impact this number, it is still higher than in 2015 when 70% of senior housing executive said they would construct new facilities.

What does this mean to you? Someone will have to manage these properties, and it could be an excellent opportunity for you.

Senior Housing Market

The housing market for seniors is a diverse range of housing types.

  • Independent living
  • Affordable Housing
  • Continuing care retirement communities
  • Assistive living
  • Alzheimer’s/Memory Care
  • Home Health Services
  • Nursing facilities with a skilled nursing staff

Some of these niches are only accessible to property managers with a marketing budget who are willing and able to take on these opportunities.

Anyone who has recently tried to find senior living for an elderly relative can attest that occupancy rates in existing senior housing facilities are at 90%.

In December 2016, 72% reported occupancy rates of their buildings at or above 90%. Another 24% of senior housing executives reported occupancy rates between 80-89%. Only a few facilities were below 80%.

Senior Housing Growth Segments

The majority of executives polled (62%), expect affordable housing to lead the senior housing market in growth for the next year. Another 45% anticipate major growth with more specialized Alzheimer’s and memory care centers. The results were very close (42% and 40%), followed by continuing-care retirement communities (36%).

In the next 12 months, 40% of these companies have construction projects for assisted living facilities planned and another 40% are planning to build Alzheimer’s/memory-care facilities. The next highest category is independent living facilities, with 31%. Only 11% of the shovels are in the ground building affordable senior housing. Managers who are looking for clients and who can staff quickly should look at assisted living facilities. They will have many projects that are nearing completion in the next 48 to 36 months. If they want to tap a market that is underserved and has high demand, landlords may consider building affordable senior housing or converting existing spaces.

Senior Housing Amenities

You should forget everything you learned if you have ever been to a clinical, cold senior care facility and left with a bad feeling. Apartment managers have responded to the needs of seniors and their family members by offering a range of innovative amenities.

Several complexes realized that many residents missed being able to work on projects in the garage, so they created a workshop for their community. Some facilities offer residents meal plans and have kitchens for those who are unable to cook for themselves.

The following are other amenities in high demand:

  • Delivery services for groceries or transportation to the grocery store
  • Concierge services
  • Fitness centers and low impact exercise classes
  • Parks and community gardens
  • Transport to hospitals and clinics
  • Banks and ATMs on-site
  • Art, technology and more: Courses in art, technology and more

Emerging Niche Markets for Senior Housing

We are witnessing the growth of increasingly niche communities as the senior housing market continues to develop. Many property managers within the senior housing sector are positioning themselves in order to attract niche and special interest communities.

Aegis Gardens, in Fremont, CA is a facility that caters primarily to Asian residents. The facility’s staff speaks both English and Chinese. Its architecture is based on the Chinese Feng Shui tradition. On-site activities include tai chi, calligraphy, and feng shui.

ShantiNiketan, in Tavares FL, is a retirement community marketed to Indian residents as a cheaper alternative to retiring in India. The community is currently expanding into other cities in the United States.

The Burbank Senior Arts Colony is a place where aging writers and artists can cultivate their passions for creativity in their golden years. The facility includes a theater with 40 seats, a library and studios for artists, as well as classrooms and galleries.

Some senior housing facilities now market to the LGBTQ community and RV enthusiasts.

Property managers who are willing to tackle the challenge of managing senior housing have a wealth of opportunities.

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