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Real estate uptick

Renewed interest in senior housing

Created date

August 25th, 2009

With the real estate market recovering and current incentives plentiful, experts say that right now may be the best time to move to a retirement community campus.

Real estate market chips in

Because most people sell their existing home before they move to a senior campus, the positive real estate market has pushed more people who were considering a move to a retirement community off the sidelines and into the game.

The National Association of Realtors ' (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says thanks to low mortgage interest rates, existing homes for sale haven t stayed on the market long.

"There has never been a better time to buy," Yun says. "Housing affordability is at an all-time high, mortgage rates are historically low, and interest rates are the lowest they ve been since the days of Eisenhower."

The most recent indicator from NAR shows existing-home sales in the second quarter rose 3.8% over last quarter. "The increase in existing-home sales occurred in all major regions of the country," Yun explains. "We expect a gradual uptrend in sales to continue."

And there has been more good news for the real estate market home values have leveled out. According to Standard and Poor s/Case Shiller s home price index, house prices rose a half of a percent in their most recent survey. The slight gain was the first in three years. Popular places with smiling faces

"Since the real estate market has rebounded, we ve definitely seen an increase in activity," says Tom Neubauer, executive vice president of sales with Erickson Retirement Communities, an industry leader for 26 years. The company has exceeded all of its 2009 sales forecasts some by as much as 50%.

Jill Gilbert, the president of Gilbert Guides, a San Francisco-based publisher of guidebooks on a variety of "senior care" topics, says interest in retirement communities is stronger than ever and attributes that to a shift in the industry.

Gone are the tired stereotypes of retirement "facilities." Now communities resemble well-manicured college campuses and are built for the active, older adult who wants amenities and a plethora of things to do on campus but is also looking for financial and medical security for the "what ifs" later in life.

"The desire hasn t diminished," Gilbert says. "Many people are drawn to the security, convenience, health benefits, and social life these communities provide."

"These aren t your parent s retirement communities," Neubauer explains. "Our residents are living life out working or volunteering with their churches or in their communities. Because our residents don t need to worry about hassles like the upkeep of an older house, they are enjoying their life, spending time with family and friends." Incentives abound

The retirement community market is also as competitive as ever. Thanks to the positive real estate market and a built-in natural demand in the demographic from the millions of baby boomers, the industry remains one of the most competitive around.

Many companies are doing their best to entice potential residents to move.

Neubauer says Erickson s flexible pricing, help with moving costs, and even access to the company s realty and moving services are all on the table for buyers interested in Erickson. "There are lots of customers and a lot of competitors so this is as competitive of a market as I can remember," he says. "We are offering more incentives today than we ever have."

For more information about Erickson communities or the company s realty and moving services, call 1-800-917-8643.