A quick tour of recent headlines around the Internet show a trend with seniors and senior housing:
Seniors can't sell their homes Denver News
Builders Lament Senior Housing Interest-Reverse Mortgage Guide
Senior Equity Falls, Millions Remain-Reverse Mortgage Guide
Sunrise Assisted Living Suggests Financial Options for Senior Care - Senior Housing News
This tour I took of the headlines today made me dust off my crystal ball. I don't proclaim to be an expert, just a real estate agent who works with seniors, understands senior housing, and is willing to take a few guesses at upcoming trends for the year:
1. Prices for senior housing will follow the trends of the rest of the real estate market.Rising vacancy rates will lower rents, and senior condominium and cooperatives will experience downward pressure of purchase price.
2. There will be more and more small businesses springing up around the Twin Cities offering services to seniors.After all, people are losing their jobs, and with the coming age wave, there's a perception that this is the field to be in if you want to make money. Caveat Emptor!
3. I just recently started offering The Senior Relocation Program to seniors which includes a guaranteed sale of their home. If I can't sell it, my partner will buy it. The Minneapolis Star and Tribune even wrote about it. I suspect I'm going to hear from a lot of seniors who want to move, but can't figure out how to sell their homes. It will still be a good year for business for those of us that identify the need and offer the service to fill it.
4. There is going to be a slowing of building new senior housing developments. For the sake of existing senior housing in the metro area I hope I'm right about this one.
5. There will be a conversion of how existing senior housing communities use their space.We'll see some of the independent senior housing communities transform their space into community rooms, exercise facilities open to the public, and even memory care and assisted living care communities. You just can't have that much empty space when you have a mortgage to pay.
6. Unfortunately, we're going to see an increase in the number of moves for seniors that are crisis driven. I'll be hearing from more adult children who leave a family meeting with a transitional care unit social worker where they hear "Your mom shouldn't go home. By the way, we're discharging her tomorrow."
7. There will be an increase in Reverse Mortgage utilization. As our seniors learn more about options and choose to stay home, they'll utilize the equity in their home to pay for services to age in place.
8. Families are going to come up with creative housing and caring for aging solutions. I really do believe this current economic downturn and housing price correction is going to foster the opportunity for new solutions for seniors. Families will figure out new solutions today that we haven't previously thought of. We'll see more mother in law apartments, more families living together, perhaps even neighborhood associations developing solutions to help neighborhood seniors. The solutions that start to sprout up over the next couple of years will be driven by grass root efforts, and will be perfected by the baby boomers. I do not believe baby boomers will occupy all of these age segregated housing communities as they are today. This is the housing development industry's opportunity to "right-size."
9. The newspaper and media will continue to highlight the gloom and doom of our current predicament. You'll continue to hear how lousy the real estate market is, how seniors can't move even though they want to, and how miserable the human race has become.
Attitude really is everything. Will you be empowered to figure out how to solve the challenges that face you...or will you believe the gloom and doom of the headlines and believe your powerless?
First step-stop watching the news.