How to Find Senior Living Apartments

Reviewed: September 14, 2015
By FinanceWeb

In the 2030 census, population experts predict that one in five Americans will be age 65 or older. US trends favoring longer and more active lives will change the dynamics of many consumer markets, and these include apartment rental housing. The Fair Housing Act bans discrimination based on age; the federal government made an exception to provide age 55 and older housing units. This federal rule and similar state and local provisions make up the major source of dedicated senior apartment units. Federal and state programs provide subsidies for low-income elderly renters in these and other housing facilities.

Real Estate and Apartment Prices

Senior Living Apartments offer relief in real estate markets driven by the prices of single-family homes and condominiums. Prices have risen faster than incomes. Driven by low mortgage interest rates, real estate prices in some areas, set record highs. The real estate markets connect the prices of available housing. The price of single family homes drives the price of condominiums and cooperatives. All of the pricing trends affect rental housing as it is an alternative to purchasing residential real estate.

Features of Senior Apartments

Senior living units offer an affordable, safe alternative to market pricing for older Americans who do not wish to rent rather than own their residence. The needs of the American consumer change with the makeup of the population. In the current era, better health and medical care have aged the population. As Americans live longer, the needs for housing change. Older people require different fundamentals in the buildings they occupy. They benefit from fewer stairs, fewer interior barriers, better lighting, and more security. They need easier access to shopping, medical care, and public transportation. Many seniors require or prefer assisted living for one or more daily life activities.

Rental Subsidies

The federal and state governments provide subsidies in the form of vouchers to reduce the net costs of elderly housing based on need. The formerly Section 8 programs are an essential part of making senior living apartments affordable in many markets where price pressures have reduced the amount of low-cost housing. Age and income qualifications create affordable housing in units dedicated to residents aged 55 or older. These facilities are dedicated to serving an elderly population and meet federal regulations for structural requirements.

Government Programs

As stated above, federal rules provide a legal basis for housing dedicated to residents age 55 or older. HUD also provides cash and credit assistance to community-based groups, organizations or companies that agree to bring housing for low-income elderly persons into the marketplace(the HUD Section 202 program). These programs include ongoing rental subsidies to keep the prices to renters at affordable levels. The primary qualifications are the financial need and age verification to ensure that 80 percent of the units will be occupied by at least one person age 62 and over.

Locating Senior Apartments

HUD and state agencies maintain lists of approved senior apartment facilities. This is a good source of information on a range of types including independent, assisted, and subsidized facilities. An online search can show local area listings for facilities dedicated to elderly residents. These facilities hold themselves out to the public as restricted facilities for persons age 55 or older. The use of vouchers and rental subsidies has expanded the availability of senior apartments to market rate units that are not exclusive but that welcome and accommodate senior residents. Searches also should look for independent living facilities that offer convenient meals and facilities designed for older persons such as health and exercise, and social activities.