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Senior Resources » Senior Apartments » The Cost of Senior Apartments, Explained: Affordable, Market Rate, & Luxury

The Cost of Senior Apartments, Explained: Affordable, Market Rate, & Luxury

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Senior apartments are built with aging adults in mind and are constructed to be both accommodating and practical. Handrails and other safety hardware are common features, as well as handicap-accessible units. Typically, senior apartments offer a variety of amenities and services to tenants. In fact, assisted living or active adult communities can include apartment rentals. Whether you’re nearing retirement or just looking to downsize, apartment living might be for you!

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But first, what does it cost?

Well, that depends.

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Senior apartment rental will vary depending on a number of factors; tenant’s age, unit size, location, amenities, and available services, are just a few. And, while senior apartments typically feature lower base rates, the type of community setting will play a large part in your overall cost. For example, the average monthly cost of assisted living in the US is $4,500.

Important: If you’re researching federal housing programs, it is likely that those will not assist with costs of care – only places of residence.

So, what are my senior apartment choices?

Listen, it’s no secret that retirees live on fixed incomes. So, naturally, there are a plethora of senior housing options to choose from. Here are some of the most common types of senior apartments available.

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Affordable Senior Apartments

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines affordable housing as “homes that can be obtained for 30 percent or less of a person’s income.” Affordable senior apartments offer just that! Rent and utilities are subsidized to provide less-expensive options. HUD-sponsored senior housing, such as homes constructed under the Section 202 program, also offers low-income seniors reasonably-priced housing. And then there’s the Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers Program, which helps eligible low-income families or seniors with payments.

How do I qualify for affordable senior apartments and low-income housing?

It’s all about age and income. You must be over 55 (or 62, in some cases) and have an income that is less than the area median income (AMI).  In general, your income can’t exceed 50 percent of the AMI in which you choose to live.

Check out these resources for more information on affordable senior apartments:

Fair Housing and Related Laws

HUD’s Housing Choice Vouchers Fact Sheet

HUD’s Section 202 Supportive Housing For The Elderly Program

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Market-Rate Senior Apartments

First, a vocabulary lesson:

The term market rate is defined as “the usual price charged for a good or service in a free market, rather than one fixed by a state authority.”

Market-rate housing refers to “any unit within a development…that is intended to be available for sale or occupancy at the prevailing market value for the area similar to comparable real estate transactions” (Law Insider).

OK, so, what does that all mean in terms of senior apartments?

Basically, market-rate senior apartments offer competitive costs. Complexes will take into account the current going rate for real estate in the area, and then price units for a little bit less. Though slightly discounted, these apartments are rented without subsidies. They’re also more likely to feature a variety of services such as transportation and housekeeping.

Check out these resources for more information on market-rate senior apartments:

Investopedia: Affordable Market Value

National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC)

two seniors dancing by apartment pool

Luxury Apartments

Luxury senior living apartments are larger (up to 2,000 square feet!) and typically higher in price. Complexes are often located near cultural activities or in more lively cities and feature more upscale amenities. For many retirees, these apartments serve as a second home.

Just how much more does it cost and what kind of features will I get?

Senior luxury apartments, on average, cost between $2,000 and $5,000 per month. You can expect 24-hour concierges, swimming pools, and even golf courses (to name just a few added perks). However, don’t forget: extra amenities will also probably mean entry fees or even homeowners’ association fees!

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Check out these resources for more information on luxury senior apartments:

SeniorLiving.org: Luxury Retirement & Senior Living

Bob Carlson’s Retirement Watch: The New Retirement: Renting versus Owning a Home in Retirement

When You’re Ready To Rent

elderly woman holding a magnifying glass

Now that you know the most common types of senior apartments, you can start searching for your new home! Choosing the perfect home doesn’t have to be difficult. You’ve got options, so, check them out! Write down your needs, take some tours, and don’t forget to bring along a family member. And as always, ask lots of questions!

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Originally published April 11, 2024

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