Senior Living Facility Developers Seeing Slow Market Improvement

Demand for retirement communities, assisted-living facilities, and nursing homes is likely to balloon in the next two decades. During that time the number of Americans over the age of 65 is expected to double. Current projections predict that there will be more than 71 million seniors nationwide by 2030. Through work with local community members our New York elder law attorneys know that every day thousands and thousands more seniors are taking steps to plan for their long-term future. A key consideration in that elder care planning includes figuring out where one might want to live down the road.

However, many might be surprised to learn that New York currently has the fewest number of housing units geared toward seniors relative to our total number of households. The National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing and Care Industry reports that when compared to all other metro markets in the country New York continues to struggle the most in providing senior housing to keep pace with the aging demographics.

On Tuesday the New York Times reported on a few area development teams that are now trying to fill that void. When the housing market collapsed, the construction of new projects geared toward seniors ground to a halt. The largest companies in the industry were hardest hit by the recession leading one industry analyst to explain that things were “pretty much at an all-time low. There’s not much coming in the pipeline at all.” However, the smaller regional operations that have survived have a bit brighter outlook with one developer noting, “it’s a great time to develop senior housing…it’s an opportunity and there isn’t a lot of competition.”

Fortunately, lenders are slowly loosening up their restrictions and allowing developers to get back to work on assisted-living properties. For example, a $35 million Long Island property just opened in March to overwhelming demand. A $150 million 404-unit retirement community in East Meadow has already sold virtually all its units even though it will not open for months.

While the new construction is encouraging, the uptick is happening slowly. There will be no stopping the tidal wave of seniors in the coming years who will want these housing options, and it is unlikely that the current building will be enough to meet that demand. That disconnect will likely increase the importance for area seniors to create a New York elder care plan ahead of time. Our local elder law estate planning lawyers encourage residents to practice prudence in these uncertain times and ensure that housing options will be available to them if they need it.

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