Senior Housing Industry Outlook & Trends For 2009

Want to know what we think are going to be senior housing trends in 2009?  We looked into the magic, crystal ball and here is a preview of 10 topics and issues that may be hot in 2009….we will be addressing these further over the next month or so: 

1.  When will housing prices find a bottom and how long can seniors wait to sell their homes before migrating to other senior housing options:  Without some kind of drastic government intervention, look for this issue to drag at least for the first six to nine months of 2009.

2.  Reverse mortgages for home purchases.  Effective January 2009 a reverse mortgage product that allows seniors to simultaneously purchase a home and obtain a reverse mortgage will be announced.  Look for lenders to implement later in the spring and for real estate agents to use this as a means to get seniors to downsize their living spaces.

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3.  More senior housing related entities file bankruptcy.  Look for large and small senior housing providers to file bankruptcy or have to merge some facilities and outright close others due to financial difficulties. 

4.  More children moving back home with their senior parents or moving parents into the children’s home.  The unemployed are more likely to care for elderly parents at home, instead of putting them in more expensive retirement homes or assisted living communities. They also might pull parents out of facilities and move them back home to cut costs.

5.  New senior housing projects slowed & more modification of existing buildings and facilities for seniors .  New construction will be negligible as the credit markets continue to search for healing and developers will need to look to rehabilitate or modify existing structures to provide a means for new senior living communities.  The lack of new development may last for an extended period of time but demographics and fundamentals will ultimately rise into a robust development period.

6.  Will Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rate increases be sufficient to cover senior housing expenses and will the current economic environment and its stimulus trump any significant changes to the structure of Medicare and Medicaid?  When seniors are strapped for cash, where does Long Term Care Insurance fall into the list of priorities? 

7.  Innovative models for senior housing:   small bands of seniors bonding in 4 flats?  Privately held small apartment buildings self managed by seniors that live there?  More Coops?  College dormitory style living?  The return of the travel trailer?  So many choices…. 

8.  Need for affordable senior housing is in short supply:  What is an affordable price?  What is the standard in 2009 for affordable, senior housing  Probably not the high-end $5,000 to $6,000 a month market or is it more the sweet spot of the 3,500-3,000 a month.   

9.  Deflation hits costs at Senior Living Facilities:  Will deflationary pressures lower prices on senior housing and its affiliated services as labor and wages are under pressure? 

10.  Sustainable development:  Most newly constructed senior housing will rely on environmentally friendly development in order to have a longer, cheaper useful life.