News & Press Releases

“National Housing Survey” Shows More Seniors Living in & Willing to Consider Age-Qualified Housing

Press Room – 2007 NIC Press Releases

“National Housing Survey” Shows More Seniors Living in & Willing to Consider Age-Qualified Housing

Contact: Renee Tilton, (410) 626-0805 or

Annapolis, Md. – The National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry (NIC) has released the 2007 edition of its “National Housing Survey of Adults Age 55+,” which reports on the opinions, attitudes, perceptions and behaviors of adults age 55 and older relating to seniors housing. The new edition compares results from an earlier survey NIC conducted in 1998 (with adults age 60+), providing an interesting decade-long comparison of changes in older adults’ awareness and acceptance of age-qualified housing and their propensity to move to it. New this year, the study also included responses from a separate sampling of 222 independent living residents. In total, about 1,600 households were surveyed.

Survey results show that the number of seniors who have moved to age-qualified housing has increased significantly since 1998. Twelve percent of age 60+ households in 2007 indicated that they lived in housing “planned specifically for people at least 55 years of age” compared to 7 percent of respondents in 1998. In this study, age-qualified housing refers to active adult communities, independent living, assisted living, continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), 55+ apartments and rent-subsidized housing.

In particular, households 75+ years of age appeared to be moving from their primary homes at a higher rate than previously seen. The average “tenure of current residence” among this age group was 24 years, down from 27 years in 1998. Nineteen percent of the 75+ households stated they lived in an age-qualified community in 2007.

In the same period, the proportion of age 60+ households who preferred age-qualified housing to an all-age community or who would consider moving to either type of community more than doubled. Thirty-seven percent of households in the 2007 study preferred or were willing to consider age-qualified housing, up from 18 percent in 1998. Nine percent of age 60+ households said they had decided to move to an age-qualified property in the future, which is more than double (4 percent) indicated in 1998.

Awareness has increased significantly within the decade for independent living communities (56 percent to 70 percent), assisted living communities (59 percent to 75 percent) and continuing care retirement communities (64 percent to 76 percent). On the other hand, knowledge of active adult communities remained essentially the same (64 percent to 62 percent).

In addition, the proportion of age 60+ households who found active adult communities (56 percent) and CCRCs (57 percent) as “very desirable” or “desirable” places to live has remained the same since 1998, while the appeal of independent living (from 65 percent to 58 percent) and assisted living (from 59 percent to 52 percent) has decreased slightly during this time period. However, the survey showed that a significant opportunity exists for increasing the utilization rate of independent living among 75+ households. Although 13 percent surveyed indicated that independent living was “very desirable” and 42% “desirable as a place for them to live,” only 5 percent currently live in independent living.

“As a whole, these are positive findings for the seniors housing and care industry, as they suggest that the demand for age-qualified housing is strong and will continue to be so for the near future,” said Robert G. Kramer, president of NIC. “On the downside, the desirability of age-qualified housing as a future living option has remained unchanged or, in some instances, even decreased slightly. This shows that the industry still has some work to do to in offering products that appeal to seniors, and in educating the market about the various housing types and their benefits. At the same time, the significant disparity between the number of seniors age 75+ who currently live in some form of independent living community and those who find such an option either highly desirable or desirable as a place for them to live reveals an enormous opportunity to further industry growth from increased market penetration rather than demographic growth alone.”

The “National Housing Survey Of Adults Age 55+” also reveals the average tenure of residents in age-qualified housing; the correlation between education level and desirability of assisted living; motivating reasons for moving to independent living and CCRCs; a profile of households who say they have made the decision to move to age-qualified housing within the next six months; the amount of time spent planning a move; characteristics of households who live in independent living or CCRCs to those of the same age group who are still living in their existing, all-ages homes; Internet usage to seek information about seniors housing by age group; and general demographic data on household respondents, including the amount of equity in their homes.

About the ProMatura Group LLC: An Oxford, Miss.-based research and consulting firm, partnered with NIC to conduct the research and analyze the data. The report, with 61 tables and charts, is available for purchase through NIC for $95.

About NIC: Founded in 1991, the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry is a nonprofit organization providing information about business strategy and capital formation for the senior living industry. Proceeds from its annual conference – scheduled next for Sept. 10-12, 2008, in Chicago, Ill. – are used to fund research and data that lead to informed investment decision-making to advance the seniors housing and care industry. For more information, visit or call (410) 267-0504.

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