Builders see opportunity in hot senior housing market
- Experts are advising senior living providers that there are opportunities in distressed properties, developed by those wanting to take advantage of a profitable market. They note, however, that the same principles apply to acquisition as they do to new construction, starting with the philosophy that the quality of the property is more important than how many residents can be crammed into it, according to Senior Housing News.
- Inexperienced developers who rushed to get into the senior market often focus on numbers at the expense of design and are now paying the price with low occupancy rates. But those properties can be ripe for renovation and product switch that would be able to better meet consumer needs, like shifting from independent living to assisted living.
- In the future, properties will also need to appeal to potential residents' adult children, who are likely to be increasingly vigilant about what kind of living environment their parents will experience.
According to Senior Housing News, a huge baby boomer population shift to senior living facilities is still about 10 years away, but there are still trends that could benefit contractors, such as increased demand for the type of potential conversion processes of older, skilled-nursing facilities into assisted living and memory care units, but, as with most redevelopments, cost of construction and the price of acquisition will play a big role in whether or not these kinds of projects take off.
In order to keep costs down, there could be a shift toward smaller but still well-designed units with community features like more common spaces. The industry could also see more roommate-style accommodations similar to college dorm suites, micro-units and modular-home communities. All the while, operators are starting to plan for 30 years down the road when the youngest baby boomers, born in 1964, will have much different demands in their living environments than the oldest of that demographic, that of those who are in their seventies.
One construction trend in store for this market, according to Building Design + Construction, is the integration into larger, master-planned communities. So instead of amenities like hair salons and fitness centers being tucked way inside the senior section of a development, they will be public-facing to encourage socialization with the whole community. A more narrow approach to the multipurpose room is also in the cards, with more being built to focus on just a few uses instead of all uses.
- Senior Housing News As Some Senior Housing Developments Stall, Opportunity Awaits
Follow Kim Slowey on Twitter