Senior living space and specialties trend with demand, price increase

As demand and price for senior housing continue to increase, so does the trend toward larger, more amenity filled facilities, according to The Weitz Company. A national full-service general contractor, design-builder and construction manager, Weitz has built more than 18,000 independent living units and more than 29,000 senior living units in 37 states.

“Today’s senior living facilities are a collision of three worlds: healthcare, hospitality and residential. The trend is certainly towards a resort style and away from a healthcare setting,” said Brendan Morrow, Director – Senior Living, The Weitz Company. “The Baby Boomer generation is accustomed to a lifestyle of personalized, nearly on-demand entertainment and fulfillment. We must plan for that in future senior living environments. This means that the 350-unit development with three unit plan options won’t address the Boomer’s desire to be unique and experience things totally different from their peers. The type of facilities, the locations and the services offered will need to change on the fly.”

The Weitz Company has tracked the square footage of common areas in relation to units since the 1970s. Common areas have gone from 193 square feet/unit in the 1970s and some surpass the the 300 square feet/ unit threshold today.

“Increased common areas definitely comes with a cost, as the ratio between rentable and non-rentable is a major driver of the overall construction and operational costs of a senior living facility,” said Morrow.

The Weitz Company is also seeing an interest in sites with a more urban setting. “There is some thought out there that the next generation coming in will want walkability to arts, entertainment and social life outside the walls. Whereas today’s facilities are keeping residents on property, the surrounding neighborhood in an urban setting become a major selling point and strategy,” noted Morrow.

According to the latest National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) 55+ Housing Market Index (HMI), builder confidence in the single-family 55+ housing market is up year-over-year, reaching levels not seen since 2008. This trend ties to consistent rise in home equity due to climbing economic recovery, allowing consumers to sell their homes and move to a 55+ community, or from 55+ into the high quality senior housing market. With the increase in demand, comes an increase in cost.   According to a supplemental quarterly report for The 2014 Senior Care Acquisition Report, published by Irving Levin and Associates.