According to the U.S. Census, there are 35 million seniors in the U.S. today— 12. 4 percent of the population. Throughout he next decade, that percentage is projected to increase to 16. 5 percent to 53. 7 million people. The life expectancy of men and women in the U.S. is 76.2 years for men and 81.1
years for women, up from 65. 4 years and 71 years, respectively, in 1950.
Considering these statistics, seniors as a customer segment have the
potential to become one of the best sales pipelines in the market today.
So, how do we attract this population to our community?
The senior demographic offers great potential to housing providers, characterized by a growing customer base, stability of leasehold and loyal business
relationships. Recognizing the unique features of this customer base can help
you to market effectively and provide an environment that meets their needs.
In the coming years, housing prices for seniors are likely to increase at an
accelerated rate, fueled by several factors:
•;Declining supply of stock
•;Increased demand based upon demographics
•;Constraints of fixed incomes
•;Higher labor costs
•;Increased cost of raw materials
These factors will impact housing venue options for seniors as they seek
to balance rising variable costs with largely unchanged incomes. How do we
identify a price point that avoids sticker shock?
Now that the baby boomer generation has begun entering retirement, we
are starting to see the impact on property behavior. Baby boomers—those
born between the end of World War II and the early years of the 1960s—
constitute 76 million people.
The economics of changing senior housing needs will further impact
the conventional apartment market as property managers seek to fulfill the
needs or our customers. A recent Harvard University study suggests that
remodelers will benefit from increased demand for their services as retirees
alter homes to cater for their needs. “Age-in-place” retrofits are likely to be a
valuable source of work for professional contractors—the cost of remodeling
a home (kitchen, bath and adding a ground floor bedroom with bath) can
range from $80,000–$140,000.
Part of our role will be to retrofit units and maximize opportunities by
promoting this to our target market. The same improvements that appeal
to seniors—such as ease of accessibility and comfort—may also appeal to
demographics such as families with children and customers with disabilities.
Far from limiting the customer base, accessibility adjustments widen the potential market.
While some seniors may continue to live in the family home as they age
and decide to adjust existing prop-
erties to fit their needs, others will
look for new housing—especially if
it offers smaller, more manageable,
comfortable spaces. It is fairly com-
mon for seniors to sell larger family
homes because bigger spaces are no
longer needed and the maintenance
requirements can become inconve-
Tips for Attracting
Focus on how active and independent they will be. One of the
biggest fears often expressed is having to rely on others for basic everyday life functions. What do you
offer that will enhance their lives?
Define what your customers need.
Do you have it? The senior housing
market is changing quickly. Baby
boomers are demanding a level of
quality and service that far exceeds
their predecessors. Boomers are
expecting more (e.g. van service
to doctors, shopping centers and
events; library/business centers; hot
meals; fitness centers; hair salons
and even happy hours). Be creative,
identify what your customers want
and then see how you can deliver it.