With the nation’s housing industry perhaps finally on the mend, some of 76 million Americans 65 and older are finding ways to sell their homes and relocate.
Provision Living, a senior housing operator in west St. Louis County, has been providing flexible housing by offering apartments by the month. David Baylis, the company’s chief development officer, said Thursday that the arrangement made sense in a still-difficult market.
“Our model is not as dependent on selling a home as many other (senior) communities,” he said.
At the same time, Provision Living plans to build more independent-living facilities, which rely more heavily on attracting seniors able to sell their homes. Provision Living at Chesterfield, a $37 million project expected to break ground next year, will have 50 independent-living beds in addition to 113 assisted-living beds. The project, with Sansone Group, includes a future phase of 100 independent-living beds.
Baylis noted that assisted-living units are filled by seniors who need care, while others choose independent-living units when they are ready to sell their homes.
“I think seniors, like everyone else, are getting a bit more comfortable about the ability to sell their homes,” he said. “As the market stabilizes, they get comfortable.”
Provision Living does not charge residents large “entry fees.” The price of a studio apartment at Provision Living at Chesterfield, on Way Drive, is projected at $4,200 a month, which includes the assisted living services. A two-bedroom independent-living unit, which includes less care, will go for $4,500 a month, Baylis said.
Laclede Groves, a Lutheran Senior Services retirement community and nursing home in Webster Groves, also is stepping up construction of senior housing.
The development off Laclede Station Road was once home to a convent in the 1920s. Construction is underway by Lutheran Senior Services to add 80 apartments.
When completed, the $49 million expansion and renovation will give Laclede Groves 383 independent-living units and 86 residential care units.
Kirk Mattes is administrator for Lutheran Senior Services, the developer and owner of Laclede Groves. The organization’s home-conversion program permits seniors to ease themselves out of homes they have owned for decades, Mattes said Thursday.
Under the program, seniors transfer home ownership to the nonprofit, which resells them. Seniors who move to a Lutheran Senior Services facility get an annual annuity ranging from about 4 to 7 percent of their former home’s appraised value. Once ownership transfer occurs, “we pick up every expense from that point forward,” Mattes said.
“When they’re done selling their furniture and other items, (seniors) can walk away from their home,” he added.
Lutheran Senior Services’ goal is to resell the homes for prices sufficient to cover the annual annuity paid to the former owners for the rest of their lives. Home selling remains a buyers’ market, but some residences transferred to Lutheran Family Services have sold for greater than their appraised value, Mattes said.
More than 100 people have used the program, including a woman who moved from Arizona to be near her daughter in Glen Carbon, Ill., Mattes added. The 83 homes resold so far went for an average price of $170,000.
Not all new senior-living projects in the St. Louis area are large.
In downtown Belleville, St. Peter’s Cathedral is planning for a $5 million project consisting of 36 one- and two-bedroom senior apartments next to the church. The project, called The Cottages at Cathedral Square, already has drawn strong demand, said the church’s pastor, the Rev. John Myler. The cottages will go up on the site where two years ago the church bought and tore down five “rather dilapidated structures,” he said.
Myler said the church hopes to complete financing this fall and begin construction soon afterward.
“It’s a great rehab for the neighborhood and important for downtown Belleville,” Myler said. “With a slight recovery in the housing market, seniors who are looking to get out from under lawn cutting and roof repair have found a place.”
©2012 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Visit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at www.stltoday.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services