Oct 28, 2023 - Real Estate

Luxury senior living moves into D.C.

Photo: Rendering courtesy of Balfour

A swanky new 55+ community is catering to D.C.'s deep-pocketed seniors.

Why it matters: More senior communities look like modern luxury apartments.

Driving the news: All-inclusive senior living facility Balfour Palisades, currently rebranding to Fitzgerald of Palisades, is already 30% leased, sales manager Courtney Melendez tells Axios.

Zoom in: The property will include multiple restaurants, a saltwater pool, Peloton bikes, reformer Pilates machines, on-site nursing and personalized wellness plans, chauffeurs, beauty salon — among other luxury amenities.

  • Studios start at $7,000 a month, and the largest floor plan — a penthouse with a private terrace — is $21,000+, Melendez says. This includes unlimited dining.
  • The closest comparison at this price point is for-sale housing, Melendez says. But prospective residents have been drawn to the flexibility of renting, she says.

Of note: Baby boomers and their kids make up a growing share of the country's population, according to census data.

What's happening: 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 Kirksey Architecture tells Axios.

Barbara Yow lives in an amenity-rich 55+ community in Prince William County. "Avoiding isolation and disconnection is critical to aging well," she says.

  • The community has regular activities and events, and has residents spanning four decades.
  • "We enjoy lifelong learning, social emotional growth, challenging physical wellness opportunities, travel and a shared sense of caring for one another," she says.

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

Reality check: Steep housing costs especially burden Americans on fixed incomes, contributing to rising homelessness among baby boomers, The Wall Street Journal reports.

  • Roughly 57% of D.C.-area renters age 65 and older spend at least 30% of their income on housing, per census figures.

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.

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.

Editor's Note: Balfour Palisades is currently going through a name change and will be The Fitzgerald of Palisades by the end of the year.

Photo: Rendering courtesy of Balfour
Photo: Rendering courtesy of Balfour

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