Land-use regulations don't appear to affect senior living costs: analysis

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Land-use regulation does not appear to be a factor in increasing costs in senior living, according to a new analysis.

The finding is interesting because the relationship between land-use regulation and home prices is robust, Ben Hanowell, senior living researcher and data scientist for senior living referral service A Place for Mom, wrote in a recent blog post.

“When lawmakers put a cap on the allowable height of buildings or minimum amount of green space in an area, that limits real estate supply, which could raise prices,” he said. “Another way regulation can influence prices is by delaying construction while builders obtain permits and fill out other required paperwork.”

Hanowell said that it could be that regulation doesn't influence senior housing costs as much as some other industries. “Or maybe we aren't measuring the regulatory factors most relevant to senior housing and care,” he wrote.

If a link does exist between costs and regulation, it likely would be the strongest in independent living, Hanowell added. That's because independent living offers a lower (often nonexistent) level of care compared with skilled nursing facilities and even assisted living communities, and costs increase with the level of care provided, he added.

A Place for Mom reached its conclusions after matching the Wharton Residential Land Use Regulatory Index to thousands of senior housing transactions in more than 750 municipalities in the United States.

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