COVID-19 Disrupting Senior Housing Trends

The pandemic has changed many aspects of our society, including senior housing. Comparing market research before and after the pandemic shows how much the senior housing industry has changed over the past several months.

In the first quarter of 2020, before the pandemic hit, the senior housing sector posted the highest transaction volumein the past four years. This increase was short-lived. The pandemic has caused a decrease in occupancy rates as people avoid senior living communities out of fear of infection. An increase in costs at these communities is also a factor as administrators increase staff, sanitation and invest in PPE.

Increasing costs at senior housing communities may make this traditional form of retirement living unaffordable. A study by NIC Map Data Service shows that in the United States, "more than half of the middle-income seniors may not be able to pay for private housing." As costs creep up, private assisted living and memory care communities will be unaffordable for many Canadians, too.

A report by HOOP shows that in Canada, "poverty among seniors is on the rise once again after nearly two decades of decline." Considering that the "number of Canadians over 65 is set to double by 2036," it remains clear that a crisis is brewing.

As traditional views of retirement continue to become inaccessible, many older Canadians are looking for creative ways to enjoy their retirement on their terms. Co-ownership and home sharing are two senior housing trends that are on the rise and are worth watching.

As we discussed in our article about senior housing trends, both co-ownership and home sharing allow seniors to maximize their finances while aging in place. With co-ownership, the homeowner sells a part of their home to a housemate instead of renting it or sharing it. The housemate is named on the title of the property. This arrangement allows older Canadians to free up home equity while also keeping their home. In addition, they share the cost of utilities, property taxes and other home expenses while also having someone on hand to help with the home maintenance that may become problematic as they age.

With homesharing, the homeowner remains the sole owner of their home. Homesharing can take the form of a supplemental income arrangement or a task-exchange (in which rent is subsidized when the person renting partly or completely performs maintenance on the house that the homeowner can no longer perform). The details of both a task-exchange or supplemental income arrangement can vary to meet the individual needs of the homeowner and housemate and are formalized in a home share agreement.

As the senior housing crisis intensifies Canadians will continue to look for creative solutions that are affordable and meet the needs of our aging population. Give the team at HomeShare Alliance a call if you're looking for a creative senior housing solution!

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