Changing trends in 55+ communities

Portrait of smiling senior friends exercising at park

We recently attended the 13th annual Twin Cities Senior Housing Summit and heard from many experts in the field. A common theme was how much and how rapidly things have been changing as the Baby Boomer generation moves into retirement.

The trend is for 55+ age communities with a focus on an active, independent and social lifestyle. Rather than assisted living communities, the current trend is service light, with a la carte concierge services added as needed so you don’t have to move again when your needs increase… all levels of care are integrated at the same site. It is no longer one size fits all… the focus is on customization with hospitality amenities such as a fitness center, keyless entry, a library, package delivery system and walking trails.

The primary reasons people seek these communities are for…

  1. Maintenance free living
  2. One-level living
  3. Health and wellness
  4. Activities, social and community involvement

Del Webb has been building active adult communities throughout the country for some 60 years. The Bellwether by Del Webb Active Adult Community in Corcoran is the first in Minnesota. With a total of 398 homesites, they released 31 sites the end of July 2019 and 29 of those sites were already sold by the time they had their grand opening the end of August. About 50% of those buyers are still in the workforce.

The pools, pickleball courts and fitness center will get your attention, but at Bellwether by Del Webb in Corcoran that’s only the beginning of the story. Welcome to the Twin Cities’ ONLY age-restricted, resort style, new home community, filled with amenities that promote both an active and social lifestyle.

That is new community is being built in Corcoran, about 30 minutes from downtown Minneapolis, is a sign of the challenges of building affordable communities, including: (1) building sites, (2) construction costs, (3) skilled services and staffing costs, (4) increasing government regulations.

New licensing regulations effective August 2021 are changing from separate licenses for housing and services which could be licensed for multiples sites to integrated licenses that cover everything for each site on a site-by-site basis.

With United States Baby Boomers retiring at a rate of about 10,000 per day, it is not surprising that the retirement housing industry is facing more challenges and opportunities than every before!

Not only are the numbers growing… where they want to live is shifting. In 2014 an AARP survey said that 90% of people wanted to stay in their homes as they age. But a 2018 survey revealed that only 78 percent want to remain in their homes as long as possible. It didn’t state the reason, but I suspect it has a lot to do with community.

With advances in technology it is more possible than ever to stay in your own home, but it becomes more and more isolating. I can understand why active retirement communities with the ability to choose services as you need them rather than paying for a set list of services you don’t need may be the wave of the future… which will entice people 55+ to move sooner rather than later to live in community.

Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results – shensrud@homesmsp.com

Written By

I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity.

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