Cooperative Living a Senior Housing Alternative With “Great Potential”

Senior cooperative housing complexes are a growing trend in the Midwest as a way for older adults to live independently in a community setting, reports USA Today

In this model, co-op members collectively own the complex and can still take advantage of tax and financial benefits for homeowners along with maintaining control over decision-making—aspects that aren’t always present in other types of senior living communities. 

The first senior cooperative was developed in 1978 in Edina, Minn. Over the past 30 years, it’s remained largely a Midwestern phenomenon. Of the roughly 102 senior cooperatives nationwide, almost 90 are in Minnesota and Iowa, mainly due to local developers and financial lenders who have embraced the concept, said Dennis Johnson, board chairman of the Senior Cooperative Foundation in St. Paul, Minn.


But with the anticipated wave of baby boomers reaching retirement age, cooperatives could offer an alternative housing choice for seniors seeking independent, maintenance-free living and social interaction, said Keith Jans, president of Real Estate Equities Development based in St. Paul.

“I think there’s great potential for where this can go,” Jans said.

Brian Carey, senior vice president of development, said he believes the cooperative model will see a lot of growth in the future. “It’s really the Baby Boomers who are fueling the demand for this type of housing,” he said.


Cooperatives offer financial advantages, since residents can deduct their mortgage interest and real estate taxes just like single-family homeowners, Carey said. Also, in a limited-equity cooperative, the value of a membership increases by a preset amount for every year they remain in the building, Johnson said.

One disadvantage to the cooperative model is that family members must continue paying the complex’s monthly fee even if someone moves out or passes away until the membership is sold, says the article. The slow housing market can make that difficult, but even despite the real estate market crash, senior cooperatives have been able to maintain their value fairly well. 

Read the full USA Today article.

Written by Alyssa Gerace