The starting point for making realistic assisted living demand estimates is to begin with the right question “Why to?” not “Where from?”  First, frail seniors (age 75 and over) aggregate in the vicinity of the adult children (age 45 to 64). But the adult children, typically, are still working. So the overall market area for assisted living is best defined as the labor market area. This initial starting point has several advantages.

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Arthur O’Sullivan begins a Chapter Titled “Why is housing different”. (See URBEK Methodology.) He cites three reasons: the housing stock is heterogeneous (dwellings have many different characteristics); the stock is durable; and there are costs associated with moving. Shopping for a dwelling incorporates complex consumer choices. Is there a place for behavioral economics in this decision process? 

 

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The following table compares characteristics of a traditional rental walk-up; active adult rental; and seniors rental apartments with independent living services. Median age for the active adult rental tends to fall into the 65 to 74 age group, the fastest growing age cohort nationally, yet a significantly under-served market-rate segment in nearly every local rental housing market. 

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URBEK is always focused on housing market analysis, which is a subset of urban economics. How can you be sure that your consultant is doing housing market analysis and not just demographic analysis? Does it matter? And, is there a simple question you can ask to be sure he or she is on the right track?

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If you need a consistent set of demographics from the U.S. to a neighborhood, then you probably use one of the major private sector demographic providers such as CLARITAS, EXPERIAN, ESRI, or perhaps another. Typically, these firms use what is called a top-down, bottom up methodology. Where do they connect? And how are these two different approaches reconciled?

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