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Why a seniors housing development could be the best option

by Joe Rosengarten on 22 May 2018

With attractive developments harder to find in many areas of the Ontario real estate market, investors are starting to think outside the box when it comes their portfolio. The rapidly growing seniors housing sector appears to tick many of the required boxes for those searching for security, income, and an investment that has the possibility of being passive in nature.

“One of the greatest benefits of seniors housing for purchasers is the stability of the income source,” explains Bruce Stewart, lead developer of the Founders Residences - Westboro. “In Canada, the senior population is expanding more than any other sector in the country. That growth is only projected to increase which creates an even stronger demand for housing with specialized services.”

Stewart’s view on the growth of the senior demographic is backed up by data and research. According to Statistics Canada, the average life expectancy for Canadians increased to 80.4 years in 2005 from 77.8 years in 1991. Fast forward to 2018 and that has increased even further.  Statistics Canada also confirmed that the 75 and 85-plus age segments in Canada are anticipated to be among the fastest growing segments over the next two decades. One age segment lower, which includes the population of those over age 65 is expected to more than double in size by 2031.

As well as being an attractive niche in terms of growth, the seniors housing segment represents a more secure option for buyers. When renting out traditional properties, it can be difficult for landlords to decipher between an excellent and terrible tenant. A solid credit report and verified references never tell the full story and nearly all investors have a tenant horror story to tell. Purchasing in a seniors housing development eliminates most of these challenges.

“With the rapid expansion of the Seniors sector in Canada in the past decade, new developments have more senior centric improvements including monitoring systems and amenities that put pressure on older facilities to compete.” Stewart says. “There are currently a number of retirement residences in West Ottawa with a total capacity of almost 2,000 suites. This level of supply underserves the current and growing demand. Independent studies confirm both independent and assisted living markets offer opportunity for expansion of supply.

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