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Business Observer Friday, May 17, 2019 6 months ago

Region's affordability mojo carries through to seniors

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The Tampa region isn't only affordable for young people.

The buzz about Tampa of late, for many good reasons, is about the city becoming a younger town, ripe with opportunities for up-and-coming professionals.

A new survey shows that Tampa, compared to other large metro areas nationwide, also leads the country in median monthly senior living costs. Commissioned by senior living referral service A Place for Mom, the study analyzed data from people who moved into senior living between 2017 and 2018. A Place for Mom bills the report, the 2018 National Senior Living Cost Index, as the only free data source of its kind.

The report finds that like some other demographics, people 55 or older will spend more on housing than any other type of expenditure.

Nationally, independent living rates for seniors grew 2.6% in 2018 over 2017, bringing median monthly costs to $2,552. Assisted living costs for seniors grew 2.4% to $3,942, and memory care costs increased 3.2% to $5,003. While on the rise, those costs, the report found, are growing at a slower rate than overall health care costs for people 55 or older, which rose 5.3% from 2017 to 2018.

On a regional basis, the cost of living for seniors decreased in the South, dropping 1.5% year-over-year. Other regions — the West, Northeast and Midwest — all posted an increase, the report found, of at least 2.6%,

In individual markets, Tampa, at $2,152 for independent living and $3,514 for assisted living, has the lowest median monthly costs among the 15 largest metro areas in the country, the report found. With $4,303 a month for memory care, the Tampa region has the second-lowest cost index among the largest metros, with only Miami, at $4,293, lower.

On speculative reason for the low costs in Tampa? Competition. Speaking on lower costs in general, Sue Johansen, vice president of partner services with A Place for Mom, says the senior housing boom of the past few years fostered price stability. “This increased capacity has led to significant competition for residents,” Johansen says in the statement, “providing improved options for consumers, whether they’re at the low, middle or high-end of the market.”

 

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