Q. Will active adult housing continue to be a hot market sector for the senior housing industry in 2022?

A. All leading indicators look favorable.

Active adult housing is a growing and evolving sector within the senior housing continuum. Active adult housing targets a younger, healthy and active consumer over the age of 55 who is looking for maintenance-free living with access to amenities, activities and socialization opportunities with their peers. The average age at existing active adult developments ranges from 72 to 74 years, with some indicating a small number of residents in their 60s. This is a demographic sector that the senior housing industry has been chasing for years.

Although there is much discussion regarding how active adult housing could effectively address affordability, this product does address a wide spectrum of affordability, from low-income to middle-market to luxury, upscale products. In fact, some operators are developing multiple brands that target these different demographic groups.

Because this living arrangement is largely service-free, labor and operating costs are low, which results in a lower price point. Pricing for active adult housing is higher than traditional multifamily and lower than service-enriched independent living.

All of these factors make active adult housing attractive to all who are involved, including the lenders, investors, developers, operators and consumers. The concept, however, still is loosely defined — even current owner/operators can’t agree on what it should be called for consumers. Continued future success will require a clear and concise definition of the living arrangement and lifestyle that can be embraced and understood by future prospects.

Lynne Moore is president of MDS Research Company Inc., a national senior living and healthcare consulting firm based in Fort Worth, TX, that has been serving clients for 48 years. MDS is a two-generation company; she is following in Jim Moore’s footsteps. Moore is responsible for all MDS market research-related projects involving all aspects of senior housing and healthcare. She can be reached at (817) 731-4266 or [email protected].

This column appears as “You’ve Got Questions … We’ve Got Answers” in the December 2021 issue of McKnight’s Senior Living magazine.

The opinions expressed in each McKnight’s Senior Living guest column are those of the author and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Senior Living.