As families migrate away from the high population concentrations of the northeastern cities, looking for more space, a lower cost of living, expanding employment opportunities, and lower taxes, they are likely to bring along their senior members who tend to retire close to family. These seniors will need housing, and despite the health crisis that has occurred in skilled nursing settings across the country during the pandemic, other senior living environments, such as independent living, assisted living, and memory care communities can still claim that seniors are better off in their care versus at home (MHN article). Independent senior living is attractive because seniors can be protected from uncontrolled interaction with younger family members better in an apartment than in a single-family home where multiple generations live together.
For investors in and operators of senior living communities, seniors make attractive renters because they do not depend on employment income to pay their rent. According to a July 16, 2020 MHN article, rent collection in the senior living real estate sector has remained strong during the pandemic. For other commercial real estate multi-family sectors, federal unemployment benefits and loan and rent forbearance measures have bolstered rent collections for a few months, but the true rent collection and apartment occupancy picture in the long term will not begin emerging until after the end of July when government unemployment benefits expire. It is uncertain how many renters will be able to keep paying their rent, how many vacancies will be created, and how rental rates will be affected by the withdrawal of federal program support.
According to the National Multifamily Housing Council, 87.6 % of renters made full or partial rent payments by July 13. That is slightly down from a month ago and from the same period last year.
Marketing a senior living community may require appealing to the adult children of seniors as much as to the seniors themselves. According to Brett Gelsomino, Vice President of ZOM Senior Living some amenities to consider in new multifamily rental construction projects for seniors and in remodeling projects include amenities that ZOM is putting in its South Florida communities: walkable locations nearby, pools, lounges, dining venues, library, and business centers, garage parking, valet service. He expects that there will be pent-up demand for senior living communities by mid-2022.
Demand for senior living communities could rise as soon as the covid-19 pandemic expends itself and people can move about again. Hopefully by 2021. Who knows? If you have the funds and the desire, building through low economic times is good for the economy and good for your mental wellbeing. If you need funding, apply now.
I am working online with the rest of you.
Patrick St. Cin
W – 512-213-2271
M – 505-239-3026
Laura Calugar, Multifamily Housing News. https://www.multihousingnews.com/post/close-up-on-south-floridas-senior-housing-sector/ July 16, 2020.
IvyLee Rosario, Multifamily Housing News. https://www.multihousingnews.com/post/national-multifamily-report-may-2020/ July 19, 2020.