Oct 28, 2023 - Economy & Business

Luxury senior living moves into more U.S. cities

luxury apartment building

The pool, sun deck and hot tub at Avidor in Minnetonka, Minn. Photo: Courtesy of High Street Residential

More senior communities look like modern luxury apartments — including a resort pool, sometimes filled with grandkids.

Why it matters: America is going gray. Baby boomers and their kids make up a growing share of the country's population, according to census data.

Driving the news: Apartment developers are courting empty nesters as young as 55 years old, dangling prime locations, easy living and amenities you'd expect at a five-star hotel, senior living expert James Hill with Texas-based Kirksey Architecture tells Axios.

What's happening: Rent tops $5,000 per month for a two-bedroom at Avidor Evanston in the Chicago suburbs, featuring a rooftop, pet wash and private liquor lockers.

  • A fleet of Risor communities in the Twin Cities offers pickleball courts, golf simulators and yoga studios, among other perks and sleek apartment finishes.

As these picturesque properties claim more metropolitan areas, some businesses, such as beauty salons, are even fully moving inside.

What they're saying: "If you just want a place to hang your hat, you could find something cheaper. For me, it's been great," says Ginger Mateer, a resident of Avidor Edina, outside Minneapolis.

  • Mateer tells Axios she hosted a choir party and Christmas dinner in the building's opulent lounge space.
Data: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, but: Many senior citizens can't afford plush prices, says senior economist Lu Chen at Moody's Analytics, whose research shows rents for more traditional senior housing are climbing across the U.S.

  • Steep housing costs especially burden Americans on fixed incomes, contributing to rising homelessness among baby boomers.
  • Be smart: Some buildings set aside a portion of their apartments as affordable housing.

Zoom out: Walkability remains the biggest selling point for both old and young renters who have more luxury options to choose from.

  • "People are not going to come rent because they want your building. It's because they want to be in your neighborhood," Hill says.

Between the lines: Our customers want a community that's social and active, says Jackie Rhone, an executive director at Greystar Real Estate Partners, which develops and manages "active adult" apartments nationwide and has plans to expand.

The intrigue: Boomers comprise the largest slice of renters living alone in the U.S., as many ditched homeownership for a low-maintenance apartment, per a new report by RentCafe.

What we're watching: Single-family rental homes. The hot suburban segment appeals to some older adults who want property management perks, but without neighbors on the other side of the wall.

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