From the NY Times:
“IT used to be your home was your castle,” said Lisa Kelly, who manages several rental complexes for people 55 and over. “Nowadays nobody wants a castle, or a mortgage — especially if you are older.”
But in this postrecession era, there are indications of a growing market for 55-and-over rental complexes, particularly ones that price their rents at the lower end.
At Waterside Villas in Monroe, monthly rents for one-bedroom apartments start at $1,200, and utilities, shuttle bus service, a concierge and activities are included. According to Ms. Kelly, who works for Kohl Asset Management, the pace of leasing at Waterside has been up sharply since January.
Although the pace of leasing is also up at some higher-priced buildings, including Heritage Pointe of Teaneck, which her company manages for another owner, Ms. Kelly said the trend had been more distinct at Waterside.
Set in a working-class community in Middlesex County, Waterside attracts a majority of its residents from the surrounding area, and about a third of them are still working, she said. The average age is comparatively young — many are in their late 50s and early 60s — and there are 19 couples.
The New Jersey housing market analyst Jeffrey G. Otteau has pretty much sounded a dirge for “active senior” condos, calculating an inventory build-up that would take more than 13 years to sell. He said that demand for rentals was likely to grow, but only if they were priced somewhere below $1,500 a month.
“The market for senior rentals will be extremely price-sensitive going forward,” he said, “and projects that are near transportation and job centers will do best.”
Members of the baby boom generation are realizing they are going to have to work “an extra 10 years” past 62, said Mr. Otteau, whose appraisal company, the Otteau Valuation Group, is based in New Brunswick. “They will be seeking communities that are located well, convenient to shopping and affordable for them, whatever their income might be,” he said.
“The majority of seniors are moving from homes they have owned for 30 or 40 years, where the mortgage was paid off long ago,” Mr. Uranowitz said. “If they are able to sell in this market, they won’t get what the house was worth at the peak, but what they get is free and clear. They become solid, reliable renters. ”
More and more people are living longer, and staying healthier. Some rental projects, like Heritage Pointe, offer doctors’ offices on site, even if “assisted living” is not part of the amenities package.
This means that older renters can stay in place longer, Mr. Otteau added, and that the tenant base becomes more stable.