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The Economys Impact On Senior Housing Trends


The United States Census Bureau has reported that a third of the country’s population will be 50 years or older by the year 2010. Accordingly, a 2009 study conducted jointly by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the MetLife Mature Market Institute (MMI) revealed that the Baby Boomer generation alone will represent 25% of the United States population by 2010. With seniors representing such an astonishingly larger segment of the housing market, it is important to assess how recent economic conditions are impacting senior lifestyles and their housing needs.

As unemployment figures have continued to increase in this recessionary economic climate, many seniors are facing layoffs or reduced hours. Seniors who have lost their jobs often run a higher risk of foreclosure as their prospects in the job market are more challenging today as more applicants compete for fewer positions. In another 2009 study conducted by United Sample and Golden Gateway Financial, more than 50% of seniors polled said their net worth had decreased by 10% to 30% over the past year. Consequently, it should come as no surprise that 50% of this study’s respondents said they are concerned that their overall net worth may no longer be enough to sustain their retirement and they now plan to retire after the age of seventy.

As a means of coping with this fiscal predicament, many seniors have opted to move in with other members of their families to share living expenses. Intergenerational households also reap the benefit of avoiding the cost of residential care facilities by providing care and support for senior family members at home. In fact, this trend may even pre-date the recession as the U.S. Census Bureau has also released that the number of parents, siblings and other relatives living with the heads of households grew 42% from the year 2000 to 2007.

The housing industry is also taking note of how seniors are rapidly embracing technology and the internet when seeking housing options. A recent survey conducted by the Internet Home Alliance Research Council revealed that 63% of seniors have home offices in their new homes, while an amazing 70% have broadband internet access at home. Further, a survey conducted by International Demographics revealed that 47% of those over 50 years-old utilize the internet on a regular basis, and 70% of those between 50 and 64 years-old are actively online. Finally, a study by Charles Schwab showed that 13 million U.S. adults over 50 years of age have internet access, and this number is growing rapidly. This figure amazingly represents 16.5% of the total online population of the United States.

This significant increase in the utilization of the internet has provided seniors with the means to be more thorough and selective in researching housing options. As a result, senior housing providers are now concentrating their marketing efforts on the internet to attract this steadily increasing demographic. So despite the obstacles that recent economic conditions have created, seniors are quickly adapting to the times by cutting costs and becoming more technologically savvy. Since these trends are showing no signs of slowing, the housing industry must continue to quickly adjust to meet the needs of this tremendous segment of the nation’s population

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  Published Date - August 15 2009
  Total Views - 614
  Total Votes - 30
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  Mr. Brian S. Icenhower
Brian S. Icenhower, Esq., BS, JD, CRS, CRB, ABR, GRI, is a local real estate broker, a formerly-practicing attorney, a former instructor in real estate law at the College of the Sequoias, President-Elect for the Tulare County Association of Realtors, California Association of Realtors State Director. He may be contacted at bicenhower@icenhowerrealestate.com or at www.icenhowerrealestate.com
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