More Elderly Taking the Home Ownership Plunge

Activity in the Twin Cities housing construction market seems to be showing some interesting trends when it comes to the ages of home buyers. The market for senior's housing is vibrant and brisk, while the new housing for younger adults and families seems to be slowing down and gasping for air.

Privately funded senior housing grew 9%, compared with the 1% for single-family housing. In the metro area in the past 10 years, the number of nonsubsidized senior housing units climbed 50% to about 34,000, according to construction industry consulting firm Maxfield Research Inc. Currently, dozens of elderly housing projects are under construction in the Twin Cities metro area.

Demand is forcing builders to get creative to accomodoate the unique needs of senior citizens. This includes independent living units, assisted care, and memory care facilities. And demographics is behind that demand. According to the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, the number of people 65 and older will rise from 12% to 20% of Minnesota's population in the next 20 years.

The boom is particularly notable because it is happening during an economic downturn that is stifling demand. Experts predict a bigger surge when the economy improves.

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